Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Wolf-Dieter Reiter

Honors Major

Cell Biology


Cell and Developmental Biology | Cell Biology | Life Sciences | Molecular Biology


Plant cell walls largely consist of matrix polysaccharides that are linked to cellulose microfibrils. Xyloglucan, the primary hemicellulose of the cell wall matrix, consists of a repeating glucose tetramer structure with xylose residues attached to the first three units ('XXXG'). In Arabidopsis thaliana, the core XXXG structure is further modified by enzymatic addition of galactose and fucose residues to the xylose side chains to produce XLXG, XXLG, XLLG and XLFG structures. GT14 is a putative glycosyltransferase in the GT47 gene family. Initial predictions of GT14's hydrophobic regions, based on its translated amino acid sequence, are almost identical to its Arabidopsis homolog MUR3, which is a xyloglucan galactosyltransferase targeted to the Golgi membrane. This suggests that, like MUR3, GT14 possesses a transmembrane domain and that it is targeted to the Golgi.

The monosaccharide composition of leaves from T-DNA insertion knockouts of GT14 was analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography. The gt14 plants were found to have lower fucose and higher mannose contents than wild type plants. Analysis of cell wall and soluble fractions from gt14 and wild type plants revealed that most of the deficiency in fucose was accounted for in the cell wall, supporting the idea that GT14's target is xyloglucan. Finally, gt14 and wild type plants were transformed with GT14 for complementation and overexpression analysis. The majority of transformed plants did not show significant changes with regard to monosaccharide composition. This may be because the plants were in the T1 generation and, thus, hemizygous. Analysis of homozygous plants in the T2 generation may reveal noticeable changes.

Further studies on the xyloglucan composition of gt14 plants are necessary to put the observed reduction in cell wall fucose into a meaningful context.