Plant cell walls consist of carbohydrate, protein, and aromatic compounds and are essential to the proper growth and development of plants. The carbohydrate components make up $90% of the primary wall, and are critical to wall function. There is a diversity of polysaccharides that make up the wall and that are classified as one of three types: cellulose, hemicellulose, or pectin. The pectins, which are most abundant in the plant primary cell walls and the middle lamellae, are a class of molecules defined by the presence of galacturonic acid. The pectic polysaccharides include the galacturonans (mogalacturonan, substituted galacturonans, and RG-II) and rhamnogalacturonan-I. Galacturonans have a backbone that consists of a-1,4-linked galacturonic acid. The identification of glycosyltransferases involved in pectin synthesis is essential to the study of cell wall function in plant growth and development and for maximizing the value and use of plant polysaccharides in industry and human health. A detailed synopsis of the existing literature on pectin structure, function, and biosynthesis is presented. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Article history: Received 18 November 2008 Received in revised form 4 May 2009 Accepted 6 May 2009 Available online 2 June 2009 Keywords: Cell wall polysaccharides Galacturonan
Carbohydrate Research – Elsevier
Published: Sep 28, 2009
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