The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society

Microscopic studies on mature flax fibers embedded in LR white: immunogold localization of cell wall matrix polysaccharides.

PMID 11724900


Flax fibers have been the subject of many biochemical studies, which revealed that cellulose and pectins are the major constituents of their walls. In contrast, little is known about the location of these polymers within the walls of mature fibers by microscopic methods. This has been technically hampered by the very thick secondary wall of fibers, resulting in inadequate tissue preservation unsuitable for immunogold microscopy. In this study, we adapted the basic chemical fixation, dehydration and infiltration methods to achieve a good preservation of the cell structures of mature fibers and reduced damage to antigens. We were able to apply postembedding immunocytochemical techniques to map the location of various pectic epitopes within the walls of mature fibers. Our immunolabeling data show that homogalacturonans were exclusively found in the middle lamellae and the cell junctions but were not detectable in the secondary wall. In contrast, rhamnogalacturonan I (RG I)-associated epitopes, as well as galactan and arabinan epitopes, were abundantly distributed over the secondary wall of mature fibers.

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