Polysaccharide-degrading Enzymes are Unable to Attack Plant Cell Walls without Prior Action by a "Wall-modifying Enzyme".

Plant Physiology
A L Karr, P Albersheim


A study of the degradation of plant cell walls by the mixture of enzymes present in Pectinol R-10 is described. A "wall-modifying enzyme" has been purified from this mixture by a combination of diethylaminoethyl cellulose, Bio Gel P-100, and carboxymethyl cellulose chromatography. Treatment of cell walls with the "wall-modifying enzyme" is shown to be a necessary prerequisite to wall degradation catalyzed by a mixture of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes prepared from Pectinol R-10 or by an alpha-galactosidase secreted by the pathogenic fungus Colletotrichum lindemuthianum. The action of the "wall-modifying enzyme" on cell walls is shown to result in both a release of water-soluble, 70% ethanol-insoluble polymers and an alteration of the residual cell wall. A purified preparation of the "wall-modifying enzyme" is unable to degrade a wide variety of polysaccharide, glycoside, and peptide substrates. However, the purified preparation of wall-modifying enzyme has a limited ability to degrade polygalacturonic acid. The fact that polygalacturonic acid inhibits the ability of the "wall-modifying enzyme" to affect cell walls suggests that the "wall-modifying enzyme" may be responsible for the limited polygalacturonic acid-degrading act...Continue Reading


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