Change in XET activities, cell wall extensibility and hypocotyl elongation of soybean seedlings at low water potential

Y J Wu, B R Jeong, S C Fry, J S Boyer

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In dark-grown soybean ( Glycine max [ L.] Merr.) seedlings, exposing the roots to water-deficient vermiculite (psi(w)= -0.36 MPa) inhibited hypocotyl ( stem) elongation. The inhibition was associated with decreased extensibility of the cell walls in the elongation zone. A detailed spatial analysis showed xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET; EC activity on the basis of unit cell wall dry weight was decreased in the elongation region after seedlings were transplanted to low psi(w). The decrease in XET activity was at least partially due to an accumulation of cell wall mass. Since cell number was only slightly altered, wall mass had increased per cell and probably led to increased wall thickness and decreased cell wall extensibility. Alternatively, an increase in cell wall mass may represent a mechanism for regulating enzyme activity in cell walls, XET in this case, and therefore cell wall extensibility. Hypocotyl elongation was partially recovered after seedlings were grown in low-psi(w) vermiculate for about 80 h. The partial recovery of hypocotyl elongation was associated with a partial recovery of cell wall extensibility and an enhancement of XET activity in the hypocotyl elongation zone. Our results indicate XTH proteins may play an important role in regulating cell wall extensibility and thus cell elongation in soybean hypocotyls. Our results also showed an imperfect correlation of spatial elongation and XET activity along the hypocotyls. Other potential functions of XTH and their regulation in soybean hypocotyl growth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


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