Planta (1970) 95, 167-178 1-13
by Rupert Sheldrake

Homogenates of differentiating xylem and phloem tissue have higher cellulase activities than cambial samples; the highest activity is always found in phloem. Callus tissue, in which no vascular differentiation occurs, contains only low cellulase activity. The results suggest that cellulase is involved in vascular differentiation.

Different pH optima of cellulase activity were found: in cambium, xylem and phloem tissue, cellulase activity with an optimum at about pH 5.9 is predominantly membrane-bound; it is sedimentable at 100,000 g and releasable by Triton X-100. The same may be true of activity with an optimum at pH 5.3. Phloem tissue also contains a soluble, cytoplasmic cellulase of high activity at pH 7.1 and xylem tissue contains cytoplasmic cellulase with an optimum at pH 6.5. Low cellulase activity with a pH optimum similar to that of xylem homogenates was found in xylem sap. Cellulase activity in abscission zones increases greatly just before leaf abscission. Abscission zone cellulase has two pH optima, et 5.3 and 5.9; both activities are increased by Triton treatment of homogenates. The possible existence of several different cellulases forming part of a cellulase complex, and the role of the enzymes in hydrolysing wall material during cell differentiation are discussed.