Changes in homogalacturonans and enzymes degrading them during cotton cotyledon expansion.
Changes in homogalacturonans (HGs) and enzymes degrading them have been investigated during cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cotyledon expansion. Using an in vivo assay for pectin-degrading enzymes that involves fluorescent labeled oligomers of GalA as substrate and capillary electrophoresis for product analysis, we found that endo- and exo-polygalacturonases are present in the cotyledon extracellular spaces, and there are dramatic changes in the levels of both activities as the cotyledons change their rate of expansion. Capacity for endo-polygalacturonase activity was highest during the initial stages of cotyledon expansion. However, for exo-polygalacturonase activity it was highest in the later stages of expansion. Cell walls were prepared from 3-, 5-, and 7-day-old cotton cotyledons and treated with liquid HF at -23 degrees C. This treatment cleaves the glycosidic linkages of most neutral sugars in the walls without degrading HGs. HGs with a relatively high degree of esterification can then be solubilized with water, and those with low esterification can be solubilized with concentrated imidazole buffer. The majority of HGs were obtained in the water extracts. The degrees of esterification were 57%, 47%, and 47% in water extracts and 34%, 25%, and 27% in imidazole extracts, in 3-, 5-, and 7-day-old cotton cotyledons, respectively. Using a PA100 ion-exchange column, the members of a GalA homologous series up to approximately 70 residues can be separated. The results from HG molecular length distribution analysis indicated that the HG at 3 days was on average shorter than that in the older cotyledons, perhaps reflecting the higher level of endo-polygalacturonase activity at this stage of more rapid growth.
Zhang, Z; Pierce, ML; Mort, AJ
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