Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Pollen-tube cell walls are unusual in that they are composed almost entirely of callose, a (1,3)-β-linked glucan with a few 6-linked branches. Regulation of callose synthesis in pollen tubes is under developmental control, and this contrasts with the deposition of callose in the walls of somatic plant cells which generally occurs only in response to wounding or stress. The callose synthase (uridine-diphosphate glucose: 1,3-β-d-glucan 3-β-d-glucosyl transferase, EC 220.127.116.11) activities of membrane preparations from cultured pollen tubes and suspension-cultured cells of Nicotiana alata Link et Otto (ornamental tobacco) exhibited different kinetic and regulatory properties. Callose synthesis by membrane preparations from pollen tubes was not stimulated by Ca2+ or other divalent cations, and exhibited Michaelis-Menten kinetics only between 0.25 mM and 6 mM uridine-diphosphate glucose (K m 1.5–2.5 mM); it was activated by β-glucosides and compatible detergents. In contrast, callose synthesis by membrane preparations from suspension-cultured cells was dependent on Ca2+, and in the presence of 2 mM Ca2+ exhibited Michaelis-Menten kinetics above 0.1 mM uridine-diphosphate glucose (K m 0.45 mM); it also required a β-glucoside and low levels of compatible detergent for full activity, but was rapidly inactivated at higher levels of detergent. Callose synthase activity in pollen-tube membranes increased ten fold after treatment of the membranes with trypsin in the presence of detergent, with no changes in cofactor requirements. No increase in callose synthase activity, however, was observed when membranes from suspension-cultured cells were treated with trypsin. The insoluble polymeric product of the pollen-tube enzyme was characterised as a linear (1,3)-β-d-glucan with no 6-linked glucosyl branches, and the same product was synthesised irrespective of the assay conditions employed.
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