Endo-xyloglucan transferase, a novel class of glycosyltransferase that catalyzes transfer of a segment of xyloglucan molecule to another xyloglucan molecule

K. Nishitani, R. Tominaga

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    Xyloglucans are the major component of plant cell walls and bind tightly to the surface of individual cellulose microfibrils, thereby cross-linking them into a complex polysaccharide network of the cell wall. The cleavage and reconnection of xyloglucan cross-links are considered to play the leading role during chemical processes essential for wall expansion and, therefore, cell growth and differentiation. Although it is hypothesized that some transglycosylation is involved in these chemical processes, the enzyme responsible for the reaction was not identified. We have now purified a novel class of endo-type glycosyltransferase to apparent homogeneity from the extracellular space or the cell wall of the epicotyls of Vigna angularis, a bean plant. The enzyme is a glycoprotein with a molecular mass of about 33 kDa. The enzyme catalyzes both 1) endo-type splitting of a xyloglucan molecule and 2) linking of a newly generated reducing end of the xyloglucan to the nonreducing end of another xyloglucan molecule, thereby mediating the transfer of a large segment of the xyloglucan to another xyloglucan molecule. The transferase exhibits no glycosidase or glycanase activity. Substrate specificity of the enzyme was investigated using several polysaccharides with different glycosidic linkages as donor substrates and pyridylamino oligosaccharides as acceptor substrates, in which the reducing end of the carbohydrate was tagged with a fluorescent group. The enzyme required a basic xyloglucan structure, i.e. a β-(1→4)-glucosyl backbone with xylosyl side chains, for both acceptor and donor activity. Galactosyl or fucosyl side chains on the main chain were not required for the acceptor activity. The enzyme exhibited higher reaction rates when xyloglucans with higher M(r) were used as donor substrates. Xyloglucans smaller than 10 kDa were no longer the donor substrate. On the other hand, pyridylamino heptasaccharide acted as a good acceptor as did xyloglucan polymers. Based on these results we propose to designate this novel enzyme a xyloglucan: xyloglucano-transferase, to be abbreviated endo-xyloglucan transferase (EXT) or xyloglucan recombinase. This enzyme is the first enzyme identified that mediates the transfer of a high M(r) segment between polysaccharide molecules to generate chimeric polymers. We conclude that endo-xyloglucan transferase functions as a reconnecting enzyme for xyloglucans and is involved in the interweaving or reconstruction of cell wall matrix, which is responsible for chemical creepage that leads to morphological changes in the cell wall.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21058-21064
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Issue number29
    Publication statusPublished - 1992

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cell Biology


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