Quantitative trait loci analysis of primary cell wall composition in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2006 Jul;141(3):1035-44. doi: 10.1104/pp.106.079384. Epub 2006 May 19.


Quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis was used to identify genes underlying natural variation in primary cell wall composition in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The cell walls of dark-grown seedlings of a Bay-0 x Shahdara recombinant inbred line population were analyzed using three miniaturized global cell wall fingerprinting techniques: monosaccharide composition analysis by gas chromatography, xyloglucan oligosaccharide mass profiling, and whole-wall Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy. Heritable variation and transgression were observed for the arabinose-rhamnose ratio, xyloglucan side-chain composition (including O-acetylation levels), and absorbance for a subset of Fourier-transform infrared wavenumbers. In total, 33 QTL, corresponding to at least 11 different loci controlling dark-grown hypocotyl length, pectin composition, and levels of xyloglucan fucosylation and O-acetylation, were identified. One major QTL, accounting for 51% of the variation in the arabinose-rhamnose ratio, affected the number of arabinan side chains presumably attached to the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan I, paving the way to positional cloning of the first gene underlying natural variation in pectin structure. Several QTL were found to be colocalized, which may have implications for the regulation of xyloglucan metabolism. These results demonstrate the feasibility of combining fingerprinting techniques, natural variation, and quantitative genetics to gain original insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the structure and metabolism of cell wall polysaccharides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabinose / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Hypocotyl / growth & development
  • Monosaccharides / metabolism
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Pectins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Rhamnose / metabolism
  • Seedlings / metabolism*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Xylans / metabolism


  • Glucans
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Xylans
  • rhamnogalacturonan I
  • xyloglucan
  • Pectins
  • Arabinose
  • Rhamnose