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Cell Walls of Developing Wheat Starchy Endosperm: Comparison of Composition and RNA-Seq Transcriptome

Pellny, Till K., Lovegrove, Alison, Freeman, Jackie, Tosi, Paola, Love, Christopher G., Knox, J. Paul, Shewry, Peter R., Mitchell, Rowan A.C.
Plant physiology 2012 v.158 no.2 pp. 612-627
Arabidopsis thaliana, Triticum aestivum, arabinoxylan, callose, cell walls, cellulose, endosperm, filling period, genes, hydrolysis, pectins, starch, transcriptome, wheat, whole grain foods, xylan
The transcriptome of the developing starchy endosperm of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum) was determined using RNA-Seq isolated at five stages during grain fill. This resource represents an excellent way to identify candidate genes responsible for the starchy endosperm cell wall, which is dominated by arabinoxylan (AX), accounting for 70% of the cell wall polysaccharides, with 20% (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucan, 7% glucomannan, and 4% cellulose. A complete inventory of transcripts of 124 glycosyltransferase (GT) and 72 glycosylhydrolase (GH) genes associated with cell walls is presented. The most highly expressed GT transcript (excluding those known to be involved in starch synthesis) was a GT47 family transcript similar to Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) IRX10 involved in xylan extension, and the second most abundant was a GT61. Profiles for GT43 IRX9 and IRX14 putative orthologs were consistent with roles in AX synthesis. Low abundances were found for transcripts from genes in the acyl-coA transferase BAHD family, for which a role in AX feruloylation has been postulated. The relative expression of these was much greater in whole grain compared with starchy endosperm, correlating with the levels of bound ferulate. Transcripts associated with callose (GSL), cellulose (CESA), pectin (GAUT), and glucomannan (CSLA) synthesis were also abundant in starchy endosperm, while the corresponding cell wall polysaccharides were confirmed as low abundance (glucomannan and callose) or undetectable (pectin) in these samples. Abundant transcripts from GH families associated with the hydrolysis of these polysaccharides were also present, suggesting that they may be rapidly turned over. Abundant transcripts in the GT31 family may be responsible for the addition of Gal residues to arabinogalactan peptide.