Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Overexpression of VviPGIP1 and NtCAD14 in Tobacco Screened Using Glycan Microarrays Reveals Cell Wall Reorganisation in the Absence of Fungal Infection

Weiller, Florent; Gerber, Lorenz; Trygg, Johan; Fangel, Jonatan U.; Willats, William G. T.; Driouich, Azeddine; Vivier, Melane A.; Moore, John P.


The expression of Vitis vinifera polygalacturonase inhibiting protein 1 (VviPGIP1) in Nicotiana tabacum has been linked to modifications at the cell wall level. Previous investigations have shown an upregulation of the lignin biosynthesis pathway and reorganisation of arabinoxyloglucan composition. This suggests cell wall tightening occurs, which may be linked to defence priming responses. The present study used a screening approach to test four VviPGIP1 and four NtCAD14 overexpressing transgenic lines for cell wall alterations. Overexpressing the tobacco-derived cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (NtCAD14) gene is known to increase lignin biosynthesis and deposition. These lines, particularly PGIP1 expressing plants, have been shown to lead to a decrease in susceptibility towards grey rot fungus Botrytis cinerea. In this study the aim was to investigate the cell wall modulations that occurred prior to infection, which should highlight potential priming phenomena and phenotypes. Leaf lignin composition and relative concentration of constituent monolignols were evaluated using pyrolysis gas chromatography. Significant concentrations of lignin were deposited in the stems but not the leaves of NtCAD14 overexpressing plants. Furthermore, no significant changes in monolignol composition were found between transgenic and wild type plants. The polysaccharide modifications were quantified using gas chromatography (GC-MS) of constituent monosaccharides. The major leaf polysaccharide and cell wall protein components were evaluated using comprehensive microarray polymer profiling (CoMPP). The most significant changes appeared at the polysaccharide and protein level. The pectin fraction of the transgenic lines had subtle variations in patterning for methylesterification epitopes for both VviPGIP1 and NtCAD14 transgenic lines versus wild type. Pectin esterification levels have been linked to pathogen defence in the past. The most marked changes occurred in glycoprotein abundance for both the VviPGIP1 and NtCAD14 lines. Epitopes for arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) and extensins were notably altered in transgenic NtCAD14 tobacco.


cell wall; lignin; pectin; extensin; PGIP; CAD; tobacco

Published in

2020, volume: 8, number: 3, article number: 388
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Weiller, Florent
Stellenbosch University
Gerber, Lorenz
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Gerber, Lorenz
Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS)
Trygg, Johan
Umea University
Fangel, Jonatan U.
University of Copenhagen
Willats, William G. T.
Newcastle University - UK
Driouich, Azeddine
Universite de Rouen Normandie
Vivier, Melane A.
Stellenbosch University
Moore, John P.
Stellenbosch University

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Plant Biotechnology

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)