Cell walls are vital to the normal growth and development of plants as they protect the protoplast and provide rigidity to the stem. Here, two poplar and Arabidopsis orthologous endoglucanases, which have been proposed to play a role in secondary cell wall development, were examined. The class B endoglucanases, PtGH9B5 and AtGH9B5, are secreted enzymes that have a predicted glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor, while the class C endoglucanases, PtGH9C2 and AtGH9C2, are also predicted to be secreted but instead contain a carbohydrate-binding module. The poplar endoglucanases were expressed in Arabidopsis using both a 35S promoter and the Arabidopsis secondary cell wall-specific CesA8 promoter. Additionally, Arabidopsis t-DNA insertion lines and an RNAi construct was created to downregulate AtGH9C2 in Arabidopsis. All of the plant lines were examined for changes in cell morphology and patterning, growth and development, cell wall crystallinity, microfibril angle, and proportion of cell wall carbohydrates. Misregulation of PtGH9B5/AtGH9B5 resulted in changes in xylose content, while misregulation of PtGH9C2/AtGH9C2 resulted in changes in crystallinity, which was inversely correlated with changes in plant height and rosette diameter. Together, these results suggest that these endoglucanases affect secondary cell wall development by contributing to the cell wall crystallization process.
Glass M, Barkwill S, Unda F, Mansﬁeld SD (2015) Endo-b-1,4-glucanases impact plant cell wall development by inﬂuencing cellulose crystallization. J Integr Plant Biol 57: 396–410 doi: 10.1111/jipb.12353