Xyloglucan Metabolism Differentially Impacts the Cell Wall Characteristics of the Endosperm and Embryo during Arabidopsis Seed Germination

Plant Physiol. 2016 Mar;170(3):1367-80. doi: 10.1104/pp.15.01312. Epub 2016 Jan 29.


Cell wall remodeling is an essential mechanism for the regulation of plant growth and architecture, and xyloglucans (XyGs), the major hemicellulose, are often considered as spacers of cellulose microfibrils during growth. In the seed, the activity of cell wall enzymes plays a critical role in germination by enabling embryo cell expansion leading to radicle protrusion, as well as endosperm weakening prior to its rupture. A screen for Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutants affected in the hormonal control of germination identified a mutant, xyl1, able to germinate on paclobutrazol, an inhibitor of gibberellin biosynthesis. This mutant also exhibited reduced dormancy and increased resistance to high temperature. The XYL1 locus encodes an α-xylosidase required for XyG maturation through the trimming of Xyl. The xyl1 mutant phenotypes were associated with modifications to endosperm cell wall composition that likely impact on its resistance, as further demonstrated by the restoration of normal germination characteristics by endosperm-specific XYL1 expression. The absence of phenotypes in mutants defective for other glycosidases, which trim Gal or Fuc, suggests that XYL1 plays the major role in this process. Finally, the decreased XyG abundance in hypocotyl longitudinal cell walls of germinating embryos indicates a potential role in cell wall loosening and anisotropic growth together with pectin de-methylesterification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Endosperm / growth & development
  • Endosperm / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Germination / drug effects
  • Germination / genetics
  • Germination / physiology
  • Glucans / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • Xylans / metabolism*
  • Xylosidases / genetics
  • Xylosidases / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Glucans
  • Triazoles
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan
  • paclobutrazol
  • XYL1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Xylosidases