The Cell Wall PAC (Proline-Rich, Arabinogalactan Proteins, Conserved Cysteines) Domain-Proteins Are Conserved in the Green Lineage

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 3;21(7):2488. doi: 10.3390/ijms21072488.


Plant cell wall proteins play major roles during plant development and in response to environmental cues. A bioinformatic search for functional domains has allowed identifying the PAC domain (Proline-rich, Arabinogalactan proteins, conserved Cysteines) in several proteins (PDPs) identified in cell wall proteomes. This domain is assumed to interact with pectic polysaccharides and O-glycans and to contribute to non-covalent molecular scaffolds facilitating the remodeling of polysaccharidic networks during rapid cell expansion. In this work, the characteristics of the PAC domain are described in detail, including six conserved Cys residues, their spacing, and the predicted secondary structures. Modeling has been performed based on the crystal structure of a Plantago lanceolata PAC domain. The presence of β-sheets is assumed to ensure the correct folding of the PAC domain as a β-barrel with loop regions. We show that PDPs are present in early divergent organisms from the green lineage and in all land plants. PAC domains are associated with other types of domains: Histidine-rich, extensin, Proline-rich, or yet uncharacterized. The earliest divergent organisms having PDPs are Bryophytes. Like the complexity of the cell walls, the number and complexity of PDPs steadily increase during the evolution of the green lineage. The association of PAC domains with other domains suggests a neo-functionalization and different types of interactions with cell wall polymers.

Keywords: PAC domain; cell wall; evolution; green lineage; modeling; phylogeny; plant.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Databases, Protein
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mucoproteins / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Proline / metabolism
  • Protein Domains
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Mucoproteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • arabinogalactan proteins
  • Proline
  • Cysteine