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Plant Physiol. 1998 Nov;118(3):885-94.

Fucosyltransferase and the biosynthesis of storage and structural xyloglucan in developing nasturtium fruits

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Biology Department, McGill University, 1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1B1.


Young, developing fruits of nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus L.) accumulate large deposits of nonfucosylated xyloglucan (XG) in periplasmic spaces of cotyledon cells. This "storage" XG can be fucosylated by a nasturtium transferase in vitro, but this does not happen in vivo, even as a transitory signal for secretion. The only XG that is clearly fucosylated in these fruits is the structural fraction (approximately 1% total) that is bound to cellulose in growing primary walls. The two fucosylated subunits that are formed in vitro are identical to those found in structural XG in vivo. The yield of XG-fucosyltransferase activity from membrane fractions is highest per unit fresh weight in the youngest fruits, especially in dissected cotyledons, but declines when storage XG is forming. A block appears to develop in the secretory machinery of young cotyledon cells between sites that galactosylate and those that fucosylate nascent XG. After extensive galactosylation, XG traffic is diverted to the periplasm without fucosylation. The primary walls buried beneath accretions of storage XG eventually swell and lose cohesion, probably because they continue to extend without incorporating components such as fucosylated XG that are needed to maintain wall integrity.

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