Journal Article

In situ, Chemical and Macromolecular Study of the Composition of <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i> Seed Coat Mucilage

Audrey Macquet, Marie-Christine Ralet, Jocelyne Kronenberger, Annie Marion-Poll and Helen M. North

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 48, issue 7, pages 984-999
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
In situ, Chemical and Macromolecular Study of the Composition of Arabidopsis thaliana Seed Coat Mucilage

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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A comprehensive analysis was carried out of the composition of seed coat mucilage from Arabidopsis thaliana using the Columbia-0 accession. Pectinaceous mucilage is released from myxospermous seeds upon imbibition, and in Arabidopsis consists of a water-soluble, outer layer and an adherent, inner layer. Analysis of monosaccharide composition in conjunction with digestion with pectolytic enzymes conclusively demonstrated that the principal pectic domain of both layers was rhamnogalacturonan I, and that in the outer layer this was unbranched. The macromolecular characteristics of the water-soluble mucilage indicated that the rhamnogalacturonan molecules in the outer layer were in a slightly expanded random-coil conformation. The inner, adherent layer remained attached to the seed, even after extraction with acid and alkali, suggesting that its integrity was maintained by covalent bonds. Confocal microscopy and monosaccharide composition analyses showed that the inner layer can be separated into two domains. The internal domain contained cellulose microfibrils, which could form a matrix with RGI and bind it to the seed. In effect, in the mum5-1 mutant where most of the inner and outer mucilage layers were water soluble, cellulose remained attached to the seed coat. Immunolabeling with anti-pectin antibodies indicated the presence of galactan and arabinan in the inner layer, with the latter only present in the non-cellulose-containing external domain. In addition, JIM5 and JIM7 antibodies labeled different domains of the inner layer, suggesting the presence of stretches of homogalacturonan with different levels of methyl esterification.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Cellulose; Pectin; Rhamnogalacturonan I; Seed mucilage

Journal Article.  10414 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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