Mixed-linkage glucan (MLG) is a significant cell wall carbohydrate in grasses and an important carbon source for human consumption and biofuel production. MLG biosynthesis depends on the biochemical activity of membrane spanning glucan synthases encoded by the CSLH and CSLF cellulose synthase-like gene families. CSLF proteins are the best characterized to date but relatively little information is known about their topology with respect to the biosynthetic membranes. In this study, we report on the topology of CSLF6 protein derived from the model grass species Brachypodium distachyon (BdCSLF6) when it is expressed in heterologous systems. Using live cell imaging and immuno-electron microscopy analyses of tobacco epidermal cells expressing BdCSLF6, we demonstrate that a functional yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fusion of BdCSLF6 is localized to the Golgi apparatus and that the Golgi localization of BdCSLF6 is sufficient for MLG biosynthesis. By implementing protease protection assays of BdCSLF6 expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris, we also demonstrate that the catalytic domain, the N-terminus and the C- terminus of the protein are exposed in the cytosol. Furthermore, we found that BdCSLF6 is capable of producing MLG not only in tobacco cells but also in Pichia, which generally does not produce MLG. Together, these results support the conclusion that BdCSLF6 can produce both of the linkages present in the (1,3;1,4)-β-d-glucan chain of MLG and that the product is channelled at the Golgi into the secretory pathway for deposition into the cell wall.
Keywords: Brachypodium; CSLF6; Golgi; enzyme topology; mixed-linkage glucan.
© 2014 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.