Recent Posts

Review: The cell biology of primary cell walls during salt stress (Plant Cell)

Salt is a massive problem for most land plants. At the macroscopic level, excess soil salinity can cause stunting or death. At the molecular / cellular level, salinity causes both osmotic and ionic challenges that affect membrane homeostasis, molecular interactions, and protein stability. A new review…

Genome-edited rice deficient in two 4CL genes display diverse lignin alterations (Plant Physiol)

Lignin is one of the most important end-products of the cinnamate/monolignol pathway and it is abundant in the secondary cell wall of vascular plants. In grasses, lignins are derived from monolignols, p-hydroxycinnamates, and a flavonoid tricin. In the proposed cinnamate/monolignol pathway, 4-COUMARATE:COENZYME…

Xylan-based nanocompartments orchestrate plant vessel wall patterning (Nature Plants)

Xylem vessels have a distinct secondary cell wall (SCW) formation, where the metaxylem stage contains a characteristic pit pattern. The hemicellulose xylan is an important component of the SCW, functioning as a crosslinking polymer that coats cellulose microfibrils and interacts with other SCW components.…

Fungal exopolysaccharide regulates plant-microbe interaction (Plant Cell)

The studies on the apoplastic interactions of plants and fungi often focus on the fungal cell-wall, but recent studies indicate various plant colonizing fungi also have an exopolysaccharide (EPS) layer outside their cell wall. Chandrasekar et al. observed that the composition of this fungal EPS is distinct…

Real-time conversion of tissue-scale mechanical forces into an interdigitated growth pattern (Nature Plants)

In many plants, epidermal pavement cells lock together through interdigitating lobes, much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  These cells start out as regular squarish cells with straight walls, which then bow out and curve. Here, Belteton et al. investigate how lobes form in cotyledon pavement cells.…

Molecular insights into the complex mechanics of plant epidermal cell walls (Science)

Primary plant cell walls are made up of three types of polysaccharides: cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin, the orientations and interactions of which provide the cell wall with its properties. Here, Zhang et al. examined the outer wall of onion epidermal cells through atomic-force microscopy, stress-strain…

How a Mangrove tree can help to improve the salt tolerance of Arabidopsis and Rice

Affiliation: University of Melbourne ORCiD: 0000-0001-5092-6168 email: marc.somssich@unimelb.edu.au Mangrove trees live and thrive in intertidal zones, where they are regularly inundated with salt water. To survive such harsh environmental conditions, they have evolved several features to improve…

The fat of the land: cuticle formation in terrestrial plants

Madeleine Seale Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, United Kingdom Maddy.seale@plants.ox.ac.uk ORCID: 0000-0002-8924-3943   In a world surrounded by a vast expanse of gaseous air, water is constantly evaporating from aqueous sources…

 A grass-specific cellulose-xylan interaction dominates in sorghum secondary cell walls (Nature Communications)

The cell walls of plants are intricate structures. Their complexity is due to multiple biochemical components and interactions, but while many of the components have been identified, their interactions have yet to be fully elucidated. A major component of the cell wall is cellulose, of which multiple…