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Trafficking of the cellulose synthase complex in developing xylem vessels

Biochemical Society Transactions
Portland Press
Publication Date
  • Ecology


bst928-10a Biochem icalSociety A nnualSym posium N o.77 Trafficking of the cellulose synthase complex in developing xylem vessels Raymond Wightman and Simon Turner1 Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, U.K. Abstract The potential for using cellulosic biomass as a source of fuel has renewed interest into how the large cellulose synthase complex deposits cellulose within the woody secondary walls of plants. This complex sits within the plasma membrane where it synthesizes numerous glucan chains which bond together to form the strong cellulosemicrofibril. Themaintenance and guidance of the complex at the plasmamembrane and its delivery to sites of secondary wall formation require the involvement of the cytoskeleton. In the present paper, we discuss the dynamics of the complex at the cell cortex and what is known about its assembly and trafficking. Introduction The woody secondary walls of plants provide the mechanical stability for upward growth while permitting the plant to withstand considerable external forces that would otherwise lead to lodging and breakage. In mature xylem vessels, the secondary walls provide additional reinforcement that is necessary for resisting the large negative pressures that arise during water transport. Secondary walls consist mostly of cellulose, a polymer of glucose residues linked together by a β1-4 bond where neighbouring residues are rotated 180◦ around the axis of the polymer chain. It is the most abundant biopolymer on the planet and is recognized as having the potential to be a renewable source for biofuel production [1,2]. This application, plus its continual importance to the fibre industry, makes understanding cellulose biosynthesis a priority for a wide range of disciplines. Compared with other cell wall components that are made within the Golgi apparatus, cellulose appears to be unique in that it is synthesized at the plasma membrane and deposited directly within the cell wall. Formation

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