Mechanical effects of plant cell wall enzymes on cellulose/xyloglucan composites

Plant J. 2004 Apr;38(1):27-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02018.x.


Xyloglucan-acting enzymes are believed to have effects on type I primary plant cell wall mechanical properties. In order to get a better understanding of these effects, a range of enzymes with different in vitro modes of action were tested against cell wall analogues (bio-composite materials based on Acetobacter xylinus cellulose and xyloglucan). Tomato pericarp xyloglucan endo transglycosylase (tXET) and nasturtium seed xyloglucanase (nXGase) were produced heterologously in Pichia pastoris. Their action against the cell wall analogues was compared with that of a commercial preparation of Trichoderma endo-glucanase (EndoGase). Both 'hydrolytic' enzymes (nXGase and EndoGase) were able to depolymerise not only the cross-link xyloglucan fraction but also the surface-bound fraction. Consequent major changes in cellulose fibril architecture were observed. In mechanical terms, removal of xyloglucan cross-links from composites resulted in increased stiffness (at high strain) and decreased visco-elasticity with similar extensibility. On the other hand, true transglycosylase activity (tXET) did not affect the cellulose/xyloglucan ratio. No change in composite stiffness or extensibility resulted, but a significant increase in creep behaviour was observed in the presence of active tXET. These results provide direct in vitro evidence for the involvement of cell wall xyloglucan-specific enzymes in mechanical changes underlying plant cell wall re-modelling and growth processes. Mechanical consequences of tXET action are shown to be complimentary to those of cucumber expansin.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Wall / enzymology
  • Cellulose / chemistry
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Cellulose / ultrastructure
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Elasticity
  • Glucans / chemistry
  • Glucans / metabolism*
  • Glucans / ultrastructure
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / genetics
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / enzymology*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pichia / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Tropaeolum / enzymology*
  • Tropaeolum / genetics
  • Viscosity
  • Xylans / chemistry
  • Xylans / metabolism*
  • Xylans / ultrastructure


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA, Plant
  • Glucans
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan
  • Cellulose
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • xyloglucan - xyloglucosyltransferase
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • xyloglucan endo(1-4)-beta-D-glucanase