Glycosyl transferases in family 61 mediate arabinofuranosyl transfer onto xylan in grasses

Anders, N and Wilkinson, M D and Lovegrove, A and et al, . (2012) Glycosyl transferases in family 61 mediate arabinofuranosyl transfer onto xylan in grasses. PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), 109 (3). pp. 989-993.

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Xylan, a hemicellulosic component of the plant cell wall, is one of the most abundant polysaccharides in nature. In contrast to dicots, xylan in grasses is extensively modified by α-(1,2)– and α-(1,3)–linked arabinofuranose. Despite the importance of grass arabinoxylan in human and animal nutrition and for bioenergy, the enzymes adding the arabinosyl substitutions are unknown. Here we demonstrate that knocking-down glycosyltransferase (GT) 61 expression in wheat endosperm strongly decreases α-(1,3)–linked arabinosyl substitution of xylan. Moreover, heterologous expression of wheat and rice GT61s in Arabidopsis leads to arabinosylation of the xylan, and therefore provides gain-of-function evidence for α-(1,3)-arabinosyltransferase activity. Thus, GT61 proteins play a key role in arabinoxylan biosynthesis and therefore in the evolutionary divergence of grass cell walls.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank Harry Gilbert and David Bolam for the gift of glycosylhydrolases and Steve Powers for statistical analyses. This work was supported by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom (BBSRC) Grant BB/F014295/1 (to R.A.C.M., P.R.S., and P.D.); and T.T. and J.C.M. were supported by BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre Cell Wall Sugars Programme Grant BB/G016240/1 (to P.D.). Rothamsted Research receives grant-aided support from the BBSRC. The research leading to these results received funding from European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013 under Grant Agreement 211982 (RENEWALL).
Uncontrolled Keywords: type II cell walls, Second-generation biofuesl, dietary fiber
Author Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QW, United Kingdom
Subjects: Plant Production
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2012 11:56
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2012 11:56
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