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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Secretion of plant cell wall polysaccharides by the Golgi apparatus in Arabidopsis thaliana seed coat cells Young, Robin Elizabeth


The plant cell wall determines cell shape and is essential for plant growth during development. Pectin is an important component of cell walls and, like many wall polysaccharides, is synthesized in the Golgi apparatus and secreted by vesicles. In Arabidopsis thaliana seed coats, pectin-rich mucilage is secreted in a polarized fashion during a specific stage of development. How the Golgi apparatus in seed coat cells accommodates the large increase in pectin-rich mucilage provides a unique window into the cellular machinery that supports cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis and secretion. Examination of seed coat cells, using cryo-fixation and transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography, showed that Golgi stacks undergo dramatic changes in structure during mucilage production. Initiation of mucilage biosynthesis also correlated with increased numbers of Golgi stacks per cell. To understand if these cellular changes were dependent on pectin biosynthesis, the cell structure of a reduced mucilage mutant, mum4, was studied by similar methods and revealed that, while the morphology of Golgi stacks was dependant on mucilage, the increased stack number was not. To determine what proportion of the scattered Golgi stacks were producing mucilage, immunogold labeling with the novel mucilage-specific antibody CCRC-M36 was used to detect the pectin cargo. The large percentage of labeled Golgi stacks found suggests that many stacks produce pectin synchronously, rather than a subset of specialist Golgi. To test if a pectin modifying enzyme, MUM2, is co-secreted with pectin, a tagged MUM2 was engineered and introduced into mum2 mutants, where it rescued the mutant phenotype. However, the tag was not detectable using antibodies in immunofluorescence. Although mucilage was secreted to the top of the cell, antibody label demonstrated that pectin-producing stacks were randomly distributed throughout the cytoplasm, indicating that the destination of cargo has little effect on location of the Golgi stack producing it. The mechanism of targeting of vesicles with the domain of the plasma membrane exclusively at the mucilage pocket is unknown, although the correlation of a population of densely staining vesicles and abundant cortical microtubules in the cell cortex at the site of secretion was documented.

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