Plant growth, morphogenesis and development involve cellular adhesion, a process dependent on the composition and structure of the extracellular matrix or cell wall. Pectin in the cell wall is thought to play an essential role in adhesion, and its modification and cleavage are suggested to be highly regulated so as to change adhesive properties. To increase our understanding of plant cell adhesion, a population of ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized Arabidopsis were screened for hypocotyl adhesion defects using the pectin binding dye Ruthenium Red that penetrates defective but not wild-type (WT) hypocotyl cell walls. Genomic sequencing was used to identify a mutant allele of ELMO1 which encodes a 20 kDa Golgi membrane protein that has no predicted enzymatic domains. ELMO1 colocalizes with several Golgi markers and elmo1−/− plants can be rescued by an ELMO1-GFP fusion. elmo1−/− exhibits reduced mannose content relative to WT but no other cell wall changes and can be rescued to WT phenotype by mutants in ESMERALDA1, which also suppresses other adhesion mutants. elmo1 describes a previously unidentified role for the ELMO1 protein in plant cell adhesion.

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