Disrupting two Arabidopsis thaliana xylosyltransferase genes results in plants deficient in xyloglucan, a major primary cell wall component

Plant Cell. 2008 Jun;20(6):1519-37. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.059873. Epub 2008 Jun 10.


Xyloglucans are the main hemicellulosic polysaccharides found in the primary cell walls of dicots and nongraminaceous monocots, where they are thought to interact with cellulose to form a three-dimensional network that functions as the principal load-bearing structure of the primary cell wall. To determine whether two Arabidopsis thaliana genes that encode xylosyltransferases, XXT1 and XXT2, are involved in xyloglucan biosynthesis in vivo and to determine how the plant cell wall is affected by the lack of expression of XXT1, XXT2, or both, we isolated and characterized xxt1 and xxt2 single and xxt1 xxt2 double T-DNA insertion mutants. Although the xxt1 and xxt2 mutants did not have a gross morphological phenotype, they did have a slight decrease in xyloglucan content and showed slightly altered distribution patterns for xyloglucan epitopes. More interestingly, the xxt1 xxt2 double mutant had aberrant root hairs and lacked detectable xyloglucan. The reduction of xyloglucan in the xxt2 mutant and the lack of detectable xyloglucan in the xxt1 xxt2 double mutant resulted in significant changes in the mechanical properties of these plants. We conclude that XXT1 and XXT2 encode xylosyltransferases that are required for xyloglucan biosynthesis. Moreover, the lack of detectable xyloglucan in the xxt1 xxt2 double mutant challenges conventional models of the plant primary cell wall.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Glucans / metabolism*
  • Glucans / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Structure
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Pentosyltransferases / genetics
  • Pentosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Seedlings / genetics
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Xylans / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Glucans
  • T-DNA
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan
  • Pentosyltransferases
  • UDP xylose-protein xylosyltransferase