Soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr. cv. Mandarin) root cells (SB-1 cell line) grown in suspension culture containing Glycyl-Arginyl-Glycyl-Aspartyl-Seryl-Proline (GRGDSP) (0.25 mg/ml), a synthetic peptide containing the RGD sequence found in many extracellular matrix adhesive proteins, demonstrated (a) significantly enhanced growth rate, and (b) aberrant cell wall/plasma membrane interactions and organization. Substitution of the Asp (D) by a Glu (E) amino acid in the hexapeptide, or inversion of the RGD sequence to GDR, abolished the morphological and growth effects observed for GRGDSP in plant cells. Immunoblots, which were prepared from beta-octylglucoside extracts of whole soybean cells and protoplasts, probed with polyclonal antibodies raised against human vitronectin receptor (hVNR) complex, demonstrated a single band with an apparent molecular mass of 70-72 kD. Chromatography of beta-octylglucoside extracts of SB-1 cells on a Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser-Pro-Lys-Sepharose affinity column demonstrated the retention of a single 70-72 kD polypeptide that reacted specifically with anti-hVNR antiserum. In contradistinction, no cross-reactivity was observed with antifibronectin receptor antiserum. Epifluorescence microscopy of whole soybean cells, after moderate treatment with pectinase, demonstrated punctate fluorescent patches at the cell membrane/wall boundary when probed with anti-hVNR and rhodamine-derivatized secondary antibodies. We propose that coordination and control of plant cell division and proper cell wall biosynthesis may be mediated by an RGD-dependent recognition system in which RGD binding protein(s) promote cell membrane-cell wall attachment.

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