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Covalent cross-linking of soluble extracellular arabinoxylans in living maize cultures, which models the cross-linking of wall-bound arabinoxylans, is due to oxidation of feruloyl esters to oligoferuloyl esters and ethers. The oxidizing system responsible could be H2O2/peroxidase, O-2/laccase, or reactive oxygen species acting non-enzymically. To distinguish these possibilities, we studied arabinoxylan cross-linking in vivo and in vitro. In living cultures, exogenous, soluble, extracellular, feruloylated [pentosyl-H-3]arabinoxylans underwent cross-linking, beginning abruptly 8 d after sub-culture. Cross-linking was suppressed by iodide, an H2O2 scavenger, indicating dependence on endogenous H2O2. However, exogenous H2O2 did not cause precocious cross-linking, despite the constant presence of endogenous peroxidases, suggesting that younger cultures contained natural cross-linking inhibitors. Dialysed culture-filtrates cross-linked [H-3]arabinoxylans in vitro only if H2O2 was also added, indicating a peroxidase requirement. This cross-linking was highly ionic-strength-dependent. The peroxidases responsible were heat-labile, although relatively heat-stable peroxidases (assayed on o-dianisidine) were also present. Surprisingly, added horseradish peroxidase, even after heat-denaturation, blocked the arabinoxylan-cross-linking action of maize peroxidases, suggesting that the horseradish protein was a competing substrate for [H-3]arabinoxylan coupling. In conclusion, we show for the first time that cross-linking of extracellular arabinoxylan in living maize cultures is an action of apoplastic peroxidases, some of whose unusual properties we report.
- cell wall
- soluble extracellular polysaccharides
- zea mays L
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