Molecular domains of the cellulose/xyloglucan network in the cell walls of higher plants

Plant J. 1999 Dec;20(6):629-39. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00630.x.


Cellulose and xyloglucan (XG) assemble to form the cellulose/XG network, which is considered to be the dominant load-bearing structure in the growing cell walls of non-graminaceous land plants. We have extended the most commonly accepted model for the macromolecular organization of XG in this network, based on the structural and quantitative analysis of three distinct XG fractions that can be differentially extracted from the cell walls isolated from etiolated pea stems. Approximately 8% of the dry weight of these cell walls consists of XG that can be solubilized by treatment of the walls with a XG-specific endoglucanase (XEG). This material corresponds to an enzyme-susceptible XG domain, proposed to form the cross-links between cellulose microfibrils. Another 10% of the cell wall consists of XG that can be solubilized by concentrated KOH after XEG treatment. This material constitutes another XG domain, proposed to be closely associated with the surface of the cellulose microfibrils. An additional 3% of the cell wall consists of XG that can be solubilized only when the XEG- and KOH-treated cell walls are treated with cellulase. This material constitutes a third XG domain, proposed to be entrapped within or between cellulose microfibrils. Analysis of the three fractions indicates that metabolism is essentially limited to the enzyme-susceptible domain. These results support the hypothesis that enzyme-catalyzed modification of XG cross-links in the cellulose/XG network is required for the growth and development of the primary plant cell wall, and demonstrate that the structural consequences of these metabolic events can be analyzed in detail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cellulase
  • Cellulose / chemistry
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Glucans*
  • Hydroxides
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peas / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Solubility
  • Xylans*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Glucans
  • Hydroxides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan
  • Cellulose
  • Cellulase
  • potassium hydroxide