The Golgi apparatus of plant cells is the site of assembly of glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and complex polysaccharides, but little is known about how the different assembly pathways are organized within the Golgi stacks. To study these questions we have employed immunocytochemical techniques and antibodies raised against the hydroxyproline-rich cell wall glycoprotein, extensin, and two types of complex polysaccharides, an acidic pectic polysaccharide known as rhamnogalacturonan I (RG-I), and the neutral hemicellulose, xyloglucan (XG). Our micrographs demonstrate that individual Golgi stacks can process simultaneously glycoproteins and complex polysaccharides. O-linked arabinosylation of the hydroxyproline residues of extensin occurs in cis-cisternae, and glycosylated molecules pass through all cisternae before they are packaged into secretory vesicles in the monensin-sensitive, trans-Golgi network. In contrast, in root tip cortical parenchyma cells, the anti-RG-I and the anti-XG antibodies are shown to bind to complementary subsets of Golgi cisternae, and several lines of indirect evidence suggest that these complex polysaccharides may also exit from different cisternae. Thus, RG-I type polysaccharides appear to be synthesized in cis- and medial cisternae, and have the potential to leave from a monensin-insensitive, medial cisternal compartment. The labeling pattern for XG suggests that it is assembled in trans-Golgi cisternae and departs from the monensin-sensitive trans-Golgi network. This physical separation of the synthesis/secretion pathways of major categories of complex polysaccharides may prevent the synthesis of mixed polysaccharides, and provides a means for producing secretory vesicles that can be targeted to different cell wall domains.

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