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Pectinmethylesterases (PME) and Pectinmethylesterase Inhibitors (PMEI) Enriched during Phloem Fiber Development in Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Pinzon-Latorre, D., Deyholos, M.K.

Flax phloem fibers achieve their length by intrusive-diffusive growth, which requires them to penetrate the extracellular matrix of adjacent cells. Fiber elongation therefore involves extensive remodelling of cell walls and middle lamellae, including modifying the degree and pattern of methylesterification of galacturonic acid (GalA) residues of pectin. Pectin methylesterases (PME) are important enzymes for fiber elongation as they mediate the demethylesterification of GalA in muro, in either a block-wise fashion or in a random fashion. Our objective was to identify PMEs and PMEIs that mediate phloem fiber elongation in flax. For this purpose, we measured transcript abundance of candidate genes at nine different stages of stem and fiber development and found sets of genes enriched during fiber elongation and maturation as well as during xylem development. We expressed one of the flax PMEIs in E. coli and demonstrated that it was able to inhibit most of the native PME activity in the upper portion of the flax stem. These results identify key genetic components of the intrusive growth process and define targets for fiber engineering and crop improvement.

Citation

Pinzon-Latorre, D., Deyholos, M.K. "Pectinmethylesterases (PME) and Pectinmethylesterase Inhibitors (PMEI) Enriched during Phloem Fiber Development in Flax (Linum usitatissimum)" PLoS One (2014): e105386