Biosynthesis of the Plant Cell Wall Matrix Polysaccharide Xyloglucan

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2016 Apr 29;67:235-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-043015-112222. Epub 2016 Feb 29.


Xyloglucan (XyG) is a matrix polysaccharide that is present in the cell walls of all land plants. It consists of a β-1,4-linked glucan backbone that is further substituted with xylosyl residues. These xylosyl residues can be further substituted with other glycosyl and nonglycosyl substituents that vary depending on the plant family and specific tissue. Advances in plant mutant isolation and characterization, functional genomics, and DNA sequencing have led to the identification of nearly all transferases and synthases necessary to synthesize XyG. Thus, in terms of the molecular mechanisms of plant cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis, XyG is the most well understood. However, much remains to be learned about the molecular mechanisms of polysaccharide assembly and the regulation of these processes. Knowledge of the XyG biosynthetic machinery allows the XyG structure to be tailored in planta to ascertain the functions of this polysaccharide and its substituents in plant growth and interactions with the environment.

Keywords: glycosidase; glycosyltransferase; nucleotide sugars; plant cell wall; xyloglucan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopolymers
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Glucans / biosynthesis*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / biosynthesis
  • Xylans / biosynthesis*


  • Biopolymers
  • Glucans
  • Polysaccharides
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan