Wu A-M, Rihouey C, Seveno M, Hörnblad E, Sing SK, Matsunaga T, Ishii T, Lerouge P, Marchant A
The Arabidopsis IRX10 and IRX10-LIKE glycosyltransferases are critical for glucuronoxylan biosynthesis during secondary cell wall formation
The Plant Journal: 2008 57(4):718-731

Arabidopsis IRX10 and IRX10-LIKE (IRX10-L) proteins are closely related members of the GT47 glycosyltransferase family. Single gene knock-outs of IRX10 or IRX10-L result in plants with either a weak or no mutant phenotype. However irx10 irx10-L double mutants are severely affected in their development, with a reduced rosette size and infrequent formation of a small infertile inflorescence. Plants homozygous for irx10 and heterozygous for irx10-L have an intermediate phenotype exhibiting a short inflorescence compared with the wild type, and an almost complete loss of fertility. Stem sections of the irx10 homozygous irx10-L heterozygous or irx10 irx10-L double mutants show decreased secondary cell-wall formation. NMR analysis shows that signals derived from the reducing end structure of glucuronoxylan were detected in the irx10 single mutant, and in the irx10 homozygous irx10-L heterozygous combination, but that the degree of polymerization of the xylan backbone was reduced compared with the wild type. Additionally, xylans from irx10 stem tissues have an almost complete loss of the GlcUA side chain, whereas the level of 4-O-Me-GlcUA was similar to that in wild type. Deletion of the predicted signal peptide from the N terminus of IRX10 or IRX10-L results in an inability to rescue the irx10 irx10-L double mutant phenotype. These findings demonstrate that IRX10 and IRX10-L perform a critical function in the synthesis of glucuronoxylan during secondary cell-wall formation, and that this activity is associated with the formation of the xylan backbone structure. This contrasts with the proposed function of the tobacco NpGUT1, which is closely related to the Arabidopsis IRX10 and IRX10-L proteins, in rhamnogalacturonan II biosynthesis.

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