The role of cell wall phenolics during the early remodelling of cellulose-deficient maize cells.
AbstractThe habituation of cultured cells to cellulose biosynthesis inhibitors such as dichlobenil (dichlorobenzonitrile, DCB) has proven a valuable tool to elucidate the mechanisms involved in plant cell wall structural plasticity. Our group has demonstrated that maize cells cope with DCB through a modified cell wall in which cellulose is replaced by a more extensive network of highly cross-linked feruloylated arabinoxylans. In order to gain further insight into the contribution of phenolics to the early remodelling of cellulose-deficient cell walls, a comparative HPLC-PAD analysis was carried out of hydroxycinnamates esterified into nascent and cell wall polysaccharides obtained from non-habituated (NH) and habituated to low DCB concentrations (1.5 μM; H) maize suspension-cultured cells. Incipient DCB-habituated cell walls showed significantly higher levels of esterified ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid throughout the culture cycle. In terms of cell wall fortification, ferulic acid is associated to arabinoxylan crosslinking whereas the increase of p-coumaric suggests an early lignification response. As expected, the level of hydroxycinnamates esterified into nascent polysaccharides was also higher in DCB-habituated cells indicating an overexpression of phenylpropanoid pathway. Due to their key role in cell wall strengthening, special attention was paid into the dimerization pattern of ferulic acid. A quantitative comparison of diferulate dehydrodimers (DFAs) between cell lines and cell compartments revealed that an extra dimerization took place in H cells when both nascent and mature cell wall polysaccharides were analysed. In addition, qualitative differences in the ferulic acid coupling pattern were detected in H cells, allowing us to suggest that 8-O-4'-DFA and 8-5'-DFA featured the ferulic acid dimerization when it occurred in the protoplasmic and cell wall fractions respectively. Both qualitative and quantitative differences in the phenolic profile between NH and H cells point to a regioselectivity in the ferulate dehydrodimerization.