Is acid-induced extension in seed plants only protein-mediated?
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Plant signaling & behavior
, p. 757-759
University of Antwerp
Cell wall extensibility controls the rate of plant cell growth. It is determined by intrinsic mechanical properties of wall polymers and by wall proteins modifying these polymers and their interactions. Heat-inactivation of endogenous cell wall proteins inhibited acid-induced extension of onion epidermis peels transverse to the net cellulose alignment in the cell wall but not parallel to it. In the former case the acid-induced extension could be controlled by expansins and in the latter case by pectins restricting shear between microfibrils. Heat-inactivated cell walls stretched transversely to the net cellulose orientation extended faster at pH 5.7 and slower at pH 4.5 compared to native walls. Expansins seem to be inactive at pH 5.7, so that faster extension may result from heat-induced viscous flow of pectins and conformational changes in the cuticle of the epidermis. This stimulation of wall extension is not seen at pH 4.5 as it is outweighed by the inhibitory effect of expansin heat-inactivation. Thus, cell wall extension in higher plants might be controlled by a complex interplay between protein-dependent and protein-independent mechanisms, the result of which depends on pH and preferential orientation of main wall polymers.