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Xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolases (XTHs) are enzymes involved in the modification of load-bearing cell wall components. They cleave xyloglucan chains and, often, re-form bonds to the non-reducing ends of available xyloglucan molecules in plant primary cell walls. The enzymic properties and effects on root growth of two Arabidopsis thaliana XTHs belonging to subgroup I/II, that are predominantly expressed in root hairs and in non-elongating zones of the root, were analysed here. AtXTH14 and AtXTH26 were recombinantly produced in Pichia and subsequently purified. Both proteins were found to exhibit xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET; EC 220.127.116.11) but not xyloglucan endohydrolase (XEH; EC 18.104.22.168) activity. Their endotransglucosylase activity was at least 70x greater on xyloglucan rather than on mixed-linkage beta-glucan. Differences were found in pH- and temperature-dependence as well as in acceptor-substrate preferences. Furthermore, the specific activity of XET was approximately equal for the two enzymes. Removal of N-linked sugar residues by Endo H treatment reduced XET activity to 60%. Constant-load extensiometry experiments revealed that the enzymes reduce the extension in a model system of heat-inactivated isolated cell walls. When given to growing roots, either of these XTH proteins reduced cell elongation in a concentration-dependent manner and caused abnormal root hair morphology. This is the first time that recombinant and purified XTHs added to growing roots have exhibited a clear effect on cell elongation. It is proposed that these specific XTH isoenzymes play a role in strengthening the side-walls of root-hairs and cell walls in the root differentiation zone after the completion of cell expansion.
- cell elongation
- cell wall
- heterologous protein production
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