▪ Abstract 

Rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II) is a structurally complex pectic polysaccharide that was first identified in 1978 as a quantitatively minor component of suspension-cultured sycamore cell walls. Subsequent studies have shown that RG-II is present in the primary walls of angiosperms, gymnosperms, lycophytes, and pteridophytes and that its glycosyl sequence is conserved in all vascular plants examined to date. This is remarkable because RG-II is composed of at least 12 different glycosyl residues linked together by more than 20 different glycosidic linkages. However, only a few of the genes and proteins required for RG-II biosynthesis have been identified. The demonstration that RG-II exists in primary walls as a dimer that is covalently cross-linked by a borate diester was a major advance in our understanding of the structure and function of this pectic polysaccharide. Dimer formation results in the cross-linking of the two homogalacturonan chains upon which the RG-II molecules are constructed and is required for the formation of a three-dimensional pectic network . This network contributes to the mechanical properties of the primary wall and is required for normal plant growth and development. Indeed, changes in wall properties that result from decreased borate cross-linking of pectin may lead to many of the symptoms associated with boron deficiency in plants.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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