Cell adhesion in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by ECTOPICALLY PARTING CELLS 1--a glycosyltransferase (GT64) related to the animal exostosins.

Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden.
The Plant Journal (Impact Factor: 6.82). 09/2005; 43(3):384-97. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02455.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite the fact that several hundred glycosyltransferases have been identified from sequencing of plant genomes, the biological functions of only a handful have been established to date. A Poplar glycosyltransferase 64 (GT64) family member that is differentially expressed during the cell division and elongation phases of cambial growth was identified from previously generated transcript profiling of cambium tissues. The predicted Poplar GT64 protein has a closely related Arabidopsis homolog ECTOPICALLY PARTING CELLS (EPC1). Mutation of the EPC1 gene, one of three Arabidopsis GT64 family members, results in plants with a dramatically reduced growth habit, defects in vascular formation and reduced cell-cell adhesion properties in hypocotyl and cotyledon tissues. Secondary growth is enhanced in epc1 hypocotyl tissues and it is proposed that this results from the abnormal cell-cell adhesion within the cortical parenchyma cell layers. Loss of cell-cell contacts within cotyledon and leaf tissues is also proposed to account for vascular patterning defects and the fragile nature of epc1 tissues. The EPC1 protein thus plays a critical role during plant development in maintaining the integrity of organs via cell-cell adhesion, thereby providing mechanical strength and facilitating the movement of metabolites throughout the plant.

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