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Ancient origin of fucosylated xyloglucan in charophycean green algae

Lookup NU author(s): Professor William WillatsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s).The charophycean green algae (CGA or basal streptophytes) are of particular evolutionary significance because their ancestors gave rise to land plants. One outstanding feature of these algae is that their cell walls exhibit remarkable similarities to those of land plants. Xyloglucan (XyG) is a major structural component of the cell walls of most land plants and was originally thought to be absent in CGA. This study presents evidence that XyG evolved in the CGA. This is based on a) the identification of orthologs of the genetic machinery to produce XyG, b) the identification of XyG in a range of CGA and, c) the structural elucidation of XyG, including uronic acid-containing XyG, in selected CGA. Most notably, XyG fucosylation, a feature considered as a late evolutionary elaboration of the basic XyG structure and orthologs to the corresponding biosynthetic enzymes are shown to be present in Mesotaenium caldariorum.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mikkelsen MD, Harholt J, Westereng B, Domozych D, Fry SC, Johansen IE, Fangel JU, Lezyk M, Feng T, Nancke L, Mikkelsen JD, Willats WGT, Ulvskov P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Communications Biology

Year: 2021

Volume: 4

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 17/06/2021

Acceptance date: 28/05/2021

Date deposited: 28/06/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2399-3642

Publisher: Nature Research


DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-02277-w


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