Although cell wall remodeling is an essential feature of plant growth and development, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. This work describes the characterization of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants with altered expression of ARAF1, a bifunctional α-l-arabinofuranosidase/β-d-xylosidase (At3g10740) belonging to family 51 glycosyl-hydrolases. ARAF1 was localized in several cell types in the vascular system of roots and stems, including xylem vessels and parenchyma cells surrounding the vessels, the cambium, and the phloem. araf1 T-DNA insertional mutants showed no visible phenotype, whereas transgenic plants that overexpressed ARAF1 exhibited a delay in inflorescence emergence and altered stem architecture. Although global monosaccharide analysis indicated only slight differences in cell wall composition in both mutant and overexpressing lines, immunolocalization experiments using anti-arabinan (LM6) and anti-xylan (LM10) antibodies indicated cell type-specific alterations in cell wall structure. In araf1 mutants, an increase in LM6 signal intensity was observed in the phloem, cambium, and xylem parenchyma in stems and roots, largely coinciding with ARAF1 expression sites. The ectopic overexpression of ARAF1 resulted in an increase in LM10 labeling in the secondary walls of interfascicular fibers and xylem vessels. The combined ARAF1 gene expression and immunolocalization studies suggest that arabinan-containing pectins are potential in vivo substrates of ARAF1 in Arabidopsis
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