Action of a pure xyloglucan endo-transglycosylase (formerly called xyloglucan-specific endo-(1-->4)-beta-D-glucanase) from the cotyledons of germinated nasturtium seeds

Plant J. 1993 May;3(5):691-700. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1993.03050691.x.


The action on tamarind seed xyloglucan of the pure, xyloglucan-specific endo-(1-->4)-beta-D-glucanase from nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus L.) cotyledons has been compared with that of a pure endo-(1-->)-beta-D-glucanase ('cellulase') of fungal origin. The fungal enzyme hydrolysed the polysaccharide almost completely to a mixture of the four xyloglucan oligosaccharides: [formula: see text] Exhaustive digestion with the nasturtium enzyme gave the same four oligosaccharides plus large amounts of higher oligosaccharides and higher-polymeric material. Five of the product oligosaccharides (D, E, F, G, H) were purified and shown to be dimers of oligosaccharides A to C. D (glc8xyl6) had the structure A-->A, H (glc8xyl6 gal4) was C-->C, whereas E (glc8xyl6gal), F (glc8xyl6gal2) and G (glc8xyl6gal3) were mixtures of structural isomers with the appropriate composition. For example, F contained B2-->B2 (30%), A-->C (30%), C-->A (20%), B2-->B1 (15%) and others (about 5%). At moderate concentration (about 3 mM) oligosaccharides D to H were not further hydrolysed by the nasturtium enzyme, but underwent transglycosylation to give oligosaccharides from the group A, B, C, plus higher oligomeric structures. At lower substrate concentrations, hydrolysis was observed. Similarly, tamarind seed xyloglucan was hydrolysed to a greater extent at lower concentrations. It is concluded that the xyloglucan-specific nasturtium-seed endo-(1-->4)-beta-D-glucanase has a powerful xyloglucan-xyloglucan endo-transglycosylase activity in addition to its known xyloglucan-specific hydrolytic action. It would be more appropriately classified as a xyloglucan endo-transglycosylase. The action and specificity of the nasturtium enzyme are discussed in the context of xyloglucan metabolism in the cell walls of seeds and in other plant tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Wall / enzymology
  • Cellulase / metabolism
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Glucans*
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Plants / enzymology*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Trichoderma / enzymology
  • Xylans*


  • Glucans
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Xylans
  • xyloglucan
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • xyloglucan endotransglycosylase
  • Cellulase