Association of hemicellulose- and pectin-modifying gene expression with Eucalyptus globulus secondary growth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Wood properties are ultimately related to the morphology and biophysical properties of the xylem cell wall. Although the cellulose and lignin biosynthetic pathways have been extensively studied, modifications of other wall matrix components during secondary growth have attracted relatively less attention. In this work, thirty-eight new Eucalyptus cDNAs encoding cell wall-modifying proteins from nine candidate families that act on the cellulose hemicellulose and pectin networks were cloned and their gene expression was investigated throughout the developing stem. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR revealed distinct, gene-specific transcription patterns for each clone, allowing the identification of genes up-regulated in xylem or phloem of stem regions undergoing secondary growth. Some genes, namely an endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, one mannan-hydrolase and three pectin methylesterases showed transcription in juvenile and also in mature stages of wood development. The patterns of gene expression using samples from tension and opposite wood disclosed a general trend for up-regulation in tension wood and/or down-regulation in opposite wood. Localised gene expression of two selected representative clones, EGI-XTH1 and EG1-XTH4, obtained through in situ hybridization confirms the RT-PCR results and association with secondary xylem formation. Likewise, immunolocalisation studies with the anti-pectin antibody (JIM5) also supported the idea that the development of tissue-specific pectin characteristics is important during secondary growth. These results emphasize an involvement of hemicellulose and pectin biochemistry in wood formation, suggesting that the controlled and localised modification of these polysaccharides may define cell properties and architecture and thus, contribute to determining different biophysical characteristics of Eucalyptus wood.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)873-881
JournalPlant Physiology And Biochemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Cite this