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Planta. 2008 Jan;227(2):439-52. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

Control of diferulate formation in dicotyledonous and gramineous cell-suspension cultures.

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  • 1The Edinburgh Cell Wall Group, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, The King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JH, UK.


Primary cell wall polysaccharides of some plants carry ester-linked feruloyl groups that can be oxidatively dimerised both within the protoplast and after secretion into the apoplast. Apoplastic dimerisation has been postulated to form inter-polysaccharide cross-links, contributing to wall assembly, but this role remains conjectural. By feeding cultured cells with [14C]cinnamate, we monitored the kinetics of polysaccharide-binding and subsequent dimerisation of 14C-labelled feruloyl groups. Cultured maize and spinach cells took up [14C]cinnamate more rapidly than barley, Arabidopsis, Acer, tomato and rose cultures. Maize and spinach cells rapidly formed [14C]feruloyl-polysaccharides and, simultaneously, low-Mr [14C]feruloyl esters. When all free [14C]cinnamate had been consumed, there followed a gradual recruitment of radiolabel from the low-Mr pool into the polysaccharide fraction. A proportion of the [14C]feruloyl-polysaccharides was sloughed into the culture medium, the rest remaining wall-bound. Some of the polysaccharide-bound [14C]feruloyl groups were coupled to form dehydrodiferulates. At least six putative isomers of [14C]dehydrodiferulate were formed both rapidly (thus intra-protoplasmically) and gradually (thus mainly apoplastically). These data do not support the hypothesis that intra-protoplasmic dimerisation yields predominantly one isomer (8-5'-dehydrodiferulate). In maize, apoplastic coupling was much more extensive in 7-day old than in 2-day-old cultures; indeed, in 2-day-old cultures apoplastic coupling could not be evoked even by exogenous H2O2, suggesting strong control of peroxidase action by apoplastic factors. When apoplastic coupling was minimised by exogenous application of peroxidase-blockers (iodide, dithiothreitol and cysteine), a higher proportion of the secreted [14C]feruloyl-polysaccharides was sloughed into the medium. This observation lends support to the hypothesis that feruloyl coupling contributes to wall assembly.

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