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The role of polysaccharidases in acid wall loosening of epidermal tissue from young Phaseolus vulgaris L. hypocotyls Keller, Christopher Philip


The extension of frozen-thawed epidermal strips prepared from the first centimetre below the hypocotyl hook of six day old dark grown Phaseolus vulgaris seedlings while immersed in various buffers and under various tensions was characterized. This was done in an attempt to determine if the acid wall loosening phenomenon, which according to the Acid-growth theory (Taiz, 1984) is thought to mimic part of the auxin mechanism of action, is mediated by unspecified wall loosening enzymes. Epidermal strips were found to be significantly loosened by media pH 6.0 to pH 2.6 (0.05M citric acid-O.lOM disodium phosphate) relative to pH 7.5. A minimum stress between 1.6 and 7.6 grams was required for the acid-extension of strips 4.5±0.5 mm wide. Regardless of tension, extension by tissues in an acid medium was largely transient For example, tissues tensioned by a 16.0 gram load reached a maximum extension rate of 6.18 ±1.37% of initial length per hour (L°/hr) between 4 and 6 minutes after immersion in pH 4.8. The rate was 1.29±0.17% L°/hr between 55 and 60 minutes and 1.05±0.14% L°/hr between 220 and 240 minutes. Total acid-extension over four hours was 4.24±0.57% L°. The extension response was found to be stable; newly harvested tissues whether frozen or not performed similarly to strips aged up to 15 days at -12°C before being extended. The performance of strips immersed in unbuffered solutions indicated that tissues were self-buffering at an acid pH probably because of the fixed carboxyls within the wall. The capacity for acid-extension by epidermal strips was lost in mature tissues harvested 4-5 cm below the hypocotyl hook. Temperature coefficients from extension rates were determined at several pHs. The results were highly variable. The acid-extension of strips boiled 15 minutes in ethanol or extracted in 3M NaCl for 4 hours at 4°C or 6M LiCl for 8 hours was determined in several pHs. The impact of the treatments was largely a suppression of the initial burst of acceleration. Extension rates following the initial surge were relatively unaffected. Glycosidase activities in untreated, ethanol-boiled, or salt extracted strips were determined. β-glucosidase was found to be most active in untreated strips with lesser levels of β-galactosidase and β-xylosidase and a trace of α-galactosidase being detected. Ethanol-boiling and LiCl-extraction removed or deactivated all four activities from the strips and NaCl-extraction lowered all four activities 70-80%. NaCl proved to have solubilized most of the missing β-glucosidase and β-galactosidase when the extraction solution was assayed following desalting and concentration. LiCl solubilized most of β-xylosidase. It was concluded that glycosidases and any other similarly soluble enzyme cannot be responsible for long term acid wall loosening in bean epidermis. If an enzyme is involved, it must be extremely stable and tightly bound to the wall. The acid-extension performance of frozen-thawed longitudinally halved hypocotyl sections in comparison to epidermal strips, as well as other evidence was considered support for another hypothesized mechanism of acid wall loosening, the displacement of calcium bridges.

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