Xyloglucan endotransglycosylases (XETs) are encoded by a gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana. These enzymes modify a major structural component of the plant cell wall, xyloglucan, and therefore may influence plant growth and development. We have produced four Arabidopsis XETs (TCH4, Meri-5, EXGT and XTR9) using the baculovirus/insect cell system and compared their biochemical activities. TCH4, as previously demonstrated, and the other three proteins are capable of carrying out transglycosylation of xyloglucans. The K(m) for XLLGol acceptor oligosaccharide is in the range of 20-40 microM for all the XETs except XTR9, which has a Km of 5 microM and is significantly inhibited by high levels of XLLGol. All four enzymes are most active between pH 6.0 and 6.5. TCH4 and XTR9 have temperature optima of 18 degrees C, whereas Meri-5 and EXGT are most active at 28 and 37 degrees C, respectively. Although the activity levels of three of the XETs are not influenced by the presence of fucose on the xyloglucan polymer, XTR9 has a clear preference for non-fucosylated xyloglucan polymer. The four XETs show a marked preference for XLLGol over either XXFGol or XXXGol as acceptor oligosaccharide. All four XETs are glycosylated; however, only the activities of TCH4 and Meri-5 are affected by the removal of the N-glycan with PNGase F. These four enzymes most likely function solely as transglycosylases because xyloglucan endoglucanase activity was not apparent. Subtle differences in biochemical activities may influence the physiological functions of the distinct XETs in vivo.