Journal Article

Intercellular Pectic Protuberances in <i>Asplenium</i>: New Data on their Composition and Origin

Olivier Leroux, J. Paul Knox, Frederic Leroux, Alexander Vrijdaghs, Elke Bellefroid, Gaëtan Borgonie and Ronald L. L. Viane

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 100, issue 6, pages 1165-1173
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Intercellular Pectic Protuberances in Asplenium: New Data on their Composition and Origin

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Projections of cell wall material into the intercellular spaces between parenchymatic cells have been observed since the mid-19th century. Histochemical staining suggested that these intercellular protuberances are probably pectic in nature, but uncertainties about their origin, composition and biological function(s) have remained.


Using electron and light microscopy, including immunohistochemical methods, the structure and the presence of some major cell wall macromolecules in the intercellular pectic protuberances (IPPs) of the cortical parenchyma have been studied in a specimen of the Asplenium aethiopicum complex.

Key Results

IPPs contained pectic homogalacturonan, but no evidence for pectic rhamnogalacturonan-I or xylogalacturonan epitopes was obtained. Arabinogalactan-proteins and xylan were not detected in cell walls, middle lamellae or IPPs of the cortical parenchyma, whereas xyloglucan was only found in its cell walls. Extensin (hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins) LM1 and JIM11 and JIM20 epitopes were detected specifically in IPPs but not in their adjacent cell walls or middle lamellae.


It is postulated that IPPs do not originate exclusively from the middle lamellae because extensins were only found in IPPs and not in surrounding cell walls, intercellular space linings or middle lamellae, and because IPPs and their adjacent cell walls are discontinuous.

Keywords: Pteridophyta; Asplenium; immunohistochemistry; pectic polysaccharides; extensin; cell wall; fern

Journal Article.  5405 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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