Inhibition of fucosylation of cell wall components by 2-fluoro 2-deoxy-l-fucose induces defects in root cell elongation

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Screening of commercially available fluoro monosaccharides as putative growth inhibitors inArabidopsis thalianarevealed that 2-fluoro 2-l-fucose (2F-Fuc) reduces root growth at micromolar concentrations. The inability of 2F-Fuc to affect anAtfkgpmutant that is defective in the fucose salvage pathway indicates that 2F-Fuc must be converted to its cognate GDP nucleotide sugar in order to inhibit root growth. Chemical analysis of cell wall polysaccharides and glycoproteins demonstrated that fucosylation of xyloglucans and ofN-linked glycans is fully inhibited by 10 μm 2F-Fuc in Arabidopsis seedling roots, but genetic evidence indicates that these alterations are not responsible for the inhibition of root development by 2F-Fuc. Inhibition of fucosylation of cell wall polysaccharides also affected pectic rhamnogalacturonan-II (RG-II). At low concentrations, 2F-Fuc induced a decrease in RG-II dimerization. Both RG-II dimerization and root growth were partially restored in 2F-Fuc-treated seedlings by addition of boric acid, suggesting that the growth phenotype caused by 2F-Fuc was due to a deficiency of RG-II dimerization. Closer investigation of the 2F-Fuc-induced growth phenotype demonstrated that cell division is not affected by 2F-Fuc treatments. In contrast, the inhibitor suppressed elongation of root cells and promoted the emergence of adventitious roots. This study further emphasizes the importance of RG-II in cell elongation and the utility of glycosyltransferase inhibitors as new tools for studying the functions of cell wall polysaccharides in plant development. Moreover, supplementation experiments with borate suggest that the function of boron in plants might not be restricted to RG-II cross-linking, but that it might also be a signal molecule in the cell wall integrity-sensing mechanism.

Significance Statement

Genetic mutants are not always ideal for studying the roles of glycosyltransferases, due to redundancy and/or lethality. Here we demonstrate that fluoro-monosaccharide analogues, which inhibit sugar transferases, are useful tools for studying the functions of cell wall polysaccharides in plant development.

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