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Planta. 2004 Aug;219(4):722-32. Epub 2004 Apr 17.

Control of xyloglucan endotransglucosylase activity by salts and anionic polymers.

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The Edinburgh Cell Wall Group, ICMB, The University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, The King's Buildings, EH9 3JH, UK.


Crude extracts of cauliflower florets had high xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) activity, but this was largely lost after partial purification and de-salting. Activity was restored (promoted up to 40-fold) by any of a wide variety of inorganic and organic salts. Optimum concentrations for Na+, K+ and NH4+ salts were typically approximately 300 mM. The chlorides of Ca2+, Mg2+, Al3+ and La3+ were optimally active at lower concentrations (e.g. 0.1 mM LaCl3), but became inhibitory at higher concentrations (e.g. 5 mM LaCl3). Some anionic polysaccharides at 0.04-0.2% w/v (e.g. gum arabic, pectin and hypochlorite-oxidised xyloglucan) promoted the XET activity of de-salted enzyme, especially if a sub-optimal concentration of NaCl was also present; others (e.g. homogalacturonan, 4- O-methyl-glucuronoxylan and alginate) were inhibitory. Similar ionic effects were noted on the XET activity of the Arabidopsis protein XTH24 (heterologously expressed by insect cells); in this case carboxymethylcellulose was also stimulatory. To look for endogenous modulators of XET activity, we prepared a cold-water extract of cauliflower florets; after boiling and centrifugation, the supernatant [boiled cauliflower preparation (BCP)] promoted the XET activity of de-salted cauliflower enzyme and of XTH24. About half the activator present in BCP was an ethanol-precipitable, anionic polymer of apparent Mr <5,000. After acid hydrolysis the polymer yielded much arabinose and galactose, and small amounts of galacturonic and glucuronic acids amino acids were also present. The polymer may thus contain arabinogalactan-proteins. We suggest that acidic polymers and/or other apoplastic ions are naturally occurring regulators of XET action in vivo, and may thus control cell wall assembly, loosening, and growth.

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