Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Let’s stick together – a pectin biosynthetic mutant reveals the interconnectedness of plant cell walls

The plant cell wall is vital for plant survival—it mediates defence against pathogens, provides structural stability and controls growth to produce final plant form. Plant cell walls are composite structures formed mainly from cellulose, hemicelluloses, and pectins, and the interactions of these components…

Cell-cell adhesion in plant grafting is facilitated by b-1,4-glucanases (Science) ($)

Plant grafting has been used in crop improvement for centuries and more recently to study systemic and long-distance signaling in the plant vascular system. In order to better understand graft compatibility and its mechanism, Notaguchi et al. used Nicotiana to study interfamily graft combinations. Interfamily…

Slow development restores the fertility of photoperiod-sensitive male-sterile plant lines (Plant Physiol.)

There are many well-known advantages to hybrid seeds. However, one obstacle is the tendency of some plants to self-pollinate. The development of genetically male-sterile lines greatly facilitates hybrid seed production, as the maternal male-sterile plant cannot self-fertilize and depends on donor pollen…

Spatial profiling of immune competence in plant roots (bioRxiv)

Plant roots should prevent immune activation by innocuous soil microbiota, as constitutive immune activation is harmful to plant growth. Previous studies have indicated variable immune competence of different root cell types and developmental zones, but this is currently poorly understood with the fine…

A new order through disorder: intrinsically disordered proteins reshape the cytoskeleton under drought stress

Many proteins have a clearly defined structure-function relationship – specific three-dimensional folds can be linked to specific protein functions. We do however know that many proteins – referred to as intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) – lack rigid three-dimensional organisation. In recent…

Role of Cell Wall Invertase in Ovule Development

Apart from its well-known function in Suc unloading, cell wall invertase (CWIN), an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of Suc into Fru and Glc, also plays a role in sugar signaling and plant development.  As an  example of CWIN playing a role in plant development, Liao et al. (10.1104/pp.20.00400)…

FRA1 Kinesin Prevents Cell Wall Deposition from Going Off the Rails

Cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin are the brick and mortar of the plant kingdom, and how they are laid has substantial impacts on plant morphology.  Plant cell shape is dictated by the interplay between turgor pressure and heterogeneity in cell wall composition, whereby localized cell wall loosening…

Shaping the Plant Cell Wall: Molecular Characteristics of XOAT1 in Polysaccharide Acetylation

Plant cell walls provide mechanical support to plant cells, determine their size and shape, and influence plant development and stress responses. The plant cell wall is composed mainly of polysaccharides, including cellulose, hemicellulose and pectins, with smaller amounts of phenolic polymers and proteins…

Endosidin20 targets the cellulose synthase catalytic domain to inhibit cellulose biosynthesis (Plant Cell)

Cellulose is an indispensable component of plant cell wall formation. Cellulose is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a cellulose synthase complex (CSC) made up of at least 18 monomeric cellulose synthases (CESAs). In this study, Huang et al. used a chemical genetic approach to explore the structure…