Pectin structure and biosynthesis

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Jun;11(3):266-77. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.03.006. Epub 2008 May 15.


Pectin is structurally and functionally the most complex polysaccharide in plant cell walls. Pectin has functions in plant growth, morphology, development, and plant defense and also serves as a gelling and stabilizing polymer in diverse food and specialty products and has positive effects on human health and multiple biomedical uses. Pectin is a family of galacturonic acid-rich polysaccharides including homogalacturonan, rhamnogalacturonan I, and the substituted galacturonans rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II) and xylogalacturonan (XGA). Pectin biosynthesis is estimated to require at least 67 transferases including glycosyl-, methyl-, and acetyltransferases. New developments in understanding pectin structure, function, and biosynthesis indicate that these polysaccharides have roles in both primary and secondary cell walls. Manipulation of pectin synthesis is expected to impact diverse plant agronomical properties including plant biomass characteristics important for biofuel production.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Hexuronic Acids / chemistry
  • Hexuronic Acids / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pectins / biosynthesis*
  • Pectins / chemistry
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / metabolism*


  • Hexuronic Acids
  • rhamnogalacturonan I
  • rhamnogalacturonan II
  • xylogalacturonan
  • Pectins