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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 28;103(13):5236-41. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

Functional identification of an Arabidopsis pectin biosynthetic homogalacturonan galacturonosyltransferase.

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  • 1Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, 315 Riverbend Road, Athens, GA 30602-4712, USA.


Galacturonosyltransferases (GalATs) are required for the synthesis of pectin, a family of complex polysaccharides present in the cell walls of all land plants. We report the identification of a pectin GalAT (GAUT1) using peptide sequences obtained from Arabidopsis thaliana proteins partially purified for homogalacturonan (HG) alpha-1,4-GalAT activity. Transient expression of GAUT1 cDNA in the human embryonic kidney cell line HEK293 yielded uridine diphosphogalacturonic acid:GalAT activity. Polyclonal antibodies generated against GAUT1 immunoabsorbed HG alpha-1,4-GalAT activity from Arabidopsis solubilized membrane proteins. blast analysis of the Arabidopsis genome identified a family of 25 genes with high sequence similarity to GAUT1 and homologous genes in other dicots, in rice, and in Physcomitrella. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic Bayesian analysis of the Arabidopsis GAUT1-related gene family separates them into four related clades of GAUT and GAUT-like genes that are distinct from the other Arabidopsis members of glycosyltransferase family 8. The identification of GAUT1 as a HG GalAT and of the GAUT1-related gene family provides the genetic and biochemical tools required to study the function of these genes in pectin synthesis.

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