Defects in the biosynthesis and/or deposition of secondary plant cell wall polymers result in the collapse of xylem vessels causing a dwarfed plant stature and an altered plant architecture termed irregular xylem (irx) syndrome. For example, reduced xylan O-acetylation causes strong developmental defects and increased freezing tolerance. Recently, we demonstrated that the irx syndrome in the trichome birefringence-like 29/eskimo1 (tbl29/esk1) mutant is dependent on MORE AXILLARY GROWTH 4 (MAX4), a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of the phytohormone strigolactone (SL). In this report, we show that other xylan- and cellulose-deficient secondary wall mutants exhibit increased freezing tolerance correlated with the irx syndrome. In addition, these phenotypes are also dependent on MAX4, suggesting a more general interaction between secondary wall defects and SL biosynthesis. In contrast, MAX4 does not play a role in developmental defects triggered by primary wall deficiencies, suggesting that the interaction is restricted to vascular tissue. Through a reverse genetics approach, the requirement of different components of the SL pathway impacting the irx syndrome in tbl29 was evaluated. Our results show that the tbl29-associated irx phenotypes are dependent on the MAX3 and MAX4 enzymes, involved in the early steps of SL biosynthesis. In contrast, this signaling is independent on downstream enzymes in the biosynthesis and perception of SL such as MAX1 and MAX2.
Keywords: O‐acetylation; cell wall; cell wall integrity; cell wall sensing; irregular xylem; strigolactones.