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Re-interpreting the role of endo-β-mannanases as mannan endotransglycosylase/hydrolases in the plant cell wall

Schröder, Roswitha, Atkinson, Ross G., Redgwell, Robert J.
Annals of botany 2009 v.104 no.2 pp. 197-204
tomatoes, seed germination, plant growth, protein structure, fruits, energy, xyloglucan:xyloglucosyl transferase, cell walls, mannans, seedlings, xyloglucans, enzymatic reactions, hydrolases, genes, hydrolysis
BACKGROUND: Mannans are hemicellulosic polysaccharides in the plant primary cell wall with two major physiological roles: as storage polysaccharides that provide energy for the growing seedling; and as structural components of the hemicellulose-cellulose network with a similar function to xyloglucans. Endo-β-mannanases are hydrolytic enzymes that cleave the mannan backbone. They are active during seed germination and during processes of growth or senescence. The recent discovery that endo-β-mannanase LeMAN4a from ripe tomato fruit also has mannan transglycosylase activity requires the role of endo-β-mannanases to be reinterpreted. AIMS: In this review, the role of endo-β-mannanases as mannan endotransglycosylase/hydrolases (MTHs) in remodelling the plant cell wall is considered by analogy to the role of xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolases (XTHs). The current understanding of the reaction mechanism of these enzymes, their three-dimensional protein structure, their substrates and their genes are reported. FUTURE OUTLOOK: There are likely to be more endohydrolases within the plant cell wall that can carry out hydrolysis and transglycosylation reactions. The challenge will be to demonstrate that the transglycosylation activities shown in vitro also exist in vivo and to validate a role for transglycosylation reactions during the growth and development of the plant cell wall.