Obembe, Olawole O.
Expression of an expansin carbohydrate-binding
module affects xylem and phloem formation.
African Journal of Biotechnology , 6 (14).
ISSN ISSN 1684–5315
Expansins are believed to be involved in disrupting the non-covalent adhesion of cellulose to matrix
polysaccharides, thereby promoting wall creep. We have targeted a putative potato expansin (EXPA)
carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) to the cell walls of tobacco plants. Histological examinations and
electron microscopy indicated that 30% of the xylem cells of the transgenic stems with high expression
of the expansin CBM are wider (radial surface area) than those of the controls. Similarly, 37% of the
xylem cells of the stems of the high expressers have thinner cell walls than those of the controls. There
were no such phenotypes in the low and none expressers, as well as in the control plants. The
transgenic tobacco plants expressing the potato expansin CBM did not exhibit marked change in plant
morphology. Analysis of cellulose content in the stem cell walls was similar between the high expresser
of the transgene and the control plants. Nonetheless, our results taken together demonstrate that
expansin CBM alone can bring about changes in the plant cell walls.
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