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Biochem J. 1979 Mar 15;178(3):661-71.

Polyprenyl phosphate sugars synthesized during slime-polysaccharide production by membranes of the root-cap cells of maize (Zea mays).


Two types of experiments were carried out; either maize roots were incubated in L-[1-3H]fucose or membranes were prepared from root tips and these were incubated with GDP-L-[U-14C]fucose or UDP-D-[U-4C]glucose. The radioactively labelled lipids that were synthesized in vivo and in vitro were extracted and separated into polar and neutral components. The polar lipids had the characteristics of polyprenyl phosphate and diphosphate fucose or glucose derivatives, and the neutral lipids of sterol glycosides (fucose or glucose). A partial separation of the glycolipid synthetase reactions was achieved. Membranes were fractionated into material that sedimented at 20,000g and 100,000g. Most of the polar glycolipid synthetase activity (for the incorporation of both fucose and glucose) was located in the 100,000 g pellet, and this activity was probably located in the endoplasmic reticulum. The neutral lipid, which contained fucose, was synthesized mainly by membranes of the 20,000g pellet, and the activity was probably associated with the dictyosomes, whereas the neutral glucolipids were synthesized by all the membrane fractions. It is suggested that the polar (polyprenyl) lipids labelled with fucose could act as possible intermediates during the synthesis of the glycoproteins and slime in the root tip.

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