Lipid transfer proteins enhance cell wall extension in tobacco

Jeroen Nieuwland, Richard Feron, Bastiaan A H Huisman, Annalisa Fasolino, Cornelis W Hilbers, Jan Derksen, Celestina Mariani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plant cells are enclosed by a rigid cell wall that counteracts the internal osmotic pressure of the vacuole and limits the rate and direction of cell enlargement. When developmental or physiological cues induce cell extension, plant cells increase wall plasticity by a process called loosening. It was demonstrated previously that a class of proteins known as expansins are mediators of wall loosening. Here, we report a type of cell wall-loosening protein that does not share any homology with expansins but is a member of the lipid transfer proteins (LTPs). LTPs are known to bind a large range of lipid molecules to their hydrophobic cavity, and we show here that this cavity is essential for the cell wall-loosening activity of LTP. Furthermore, we show that LTP-enhanced wall extension can be described by a logarithmic time function. We hypothesize that LTP associates with hydrophobic wall compounds, causing nonhydrolytic disruption of the cell wall and subsequently facilitating wall extension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2009-2019
Number of pages11
JournalThe Plant cell
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Enlargement
  • Cell Wall
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco


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