AXY3 encodes a α-xylosidase that impacts the structure and accessibility of the hemicellulose xyloglucan in Arabidopsis plant cell walls

Planta. 2011 Apr;233(4):707-19. doi: 10.1007/s00425-010-1330-7. Epub 2010 Dec 18.


Xyloglucan is the most abundant hemicellulose in the walls of dicots such as Arabidopsis. It is part of the load-bearing structure of a plant cell and its metabolism is thought to play a major role in cell elongation. However, the molecular mechanism by which xyloglucan carries out this and other functions in planta is not well understood. We performed a forward genetic screen utilizing xyloglucan oligosaccharide mass profiling on chemically mutagenized Arabidopsis seedlings to identify mutants with altered xyloglucan structures termed axy-mutants. One of the identified mutants, axy3.1, contains xyloglucan with a higher proportion of non-fucosylated xyloglucan subunits. Mapping revealed that axy3.1 contains a point mutation in XYLOSIDASE1 (XYL1) known to encode for an apoplastic glycoside hydrolase releasing xylosyl residues from xyloglucan oligosaccharides at the non-reducing end. The data support the hypothesis that AXY3/XYL1 is an essential component of the apoplastic xyloglucan degradation machinery and as a result of the lack of function in the various axy3-alleles leads not only to an altered xyloglucan structure but also a xyloglucan that is less tightly associated with other wall components. However, the plant can cope with the excess xyloglucan relatively well as the mutant does not display any visible growth or morphological phenotypes with the notable exception of shorter siliques and reduced fitness. Taken together, these results demonstrate that plant apoplastic hydrolases have a larger impact on wall polymer structure and function than previously thought.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Wall / enzymology*
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glucans / chemistry*
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Seeds / anatomy & histology
  • Xylans / chemistry*
  • Xylans / metabolism
  • Xylosidases / chemistry
  • Xylosidases / genetics
  • Xylosidases / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Glucans
  • Polysaccharides
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan
  • hemicellulose
  • XYL1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Xylosidases