BackgroundLeucine-rich repeat extensins (LRXs) are extracellular proteins consisting of an N-terminal leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain and a C-terminal extensin domain containing the typical features of this class of structural hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins (HRGPs). The LRR domain is likely to bind an interaction partner, whereas the extensin domain has an anchoring function to insolubilize the protein in the cell wall. Based on the analysis of the root hair-expressed LRX1 and LRX2 of Arabidopsis thaliana, LRX proteins are important for cell wall development. The importance of LRX proteins in non-root hair cells and on the structural changes induced by mutations in LRX genes remains elusive.
ResultsThe LRX gene family of Arabidopsis consists of eleven members, of which LRX3, LRX4, and LRX5 are expressed in aerial organs, such as leaves and stem. The importance of these LRX genes for plant development and particularly cell wall formation was investigated. Synergistic effects of mutations with gradually more severe growth retardation phenotypes in double and triple mutants suggest a similar function of the three genes. Analysis of cell wall composition revealed a number of changes to cell wall polysaccharides in the mutants.
ConclusionsLRX3, LRX4, and LRX5, and most likely LRX proteins in general, are important for cell wall development. Due to the complexity of changes in cell wall structures in the lrx mutants, the exact function of LRX proteins remains to be determined. The increasingly strong growth-defect phenotypes in double and triple mutants suggests that the LRX proteins have similar functions and that they are important for proper plant development.