Navigation Links
Advance in understanding cellulose synthesis
Date:6/14/2009

Palo Alto, CACellulose is a fibrous molecule that makes up plant cell walls, gives plants shape and form and is a target of renewable, plant-based biofuels research. But how it forms, and thus how it can be modified to design energy-rich crops, is not well understood. Now a study led by researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology has discovered that the underlying protein network that provides the scaffolding for cell-wall structure is also the traffic cop for delivering the critical growth-promoting molecules where needed. The research, conducted in collaboration with colleagues at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and published in the advance online publication (AOP) of Nature Cell Biology on June 14th, is a significant step for understanding how the enzymes that make cellulose and determine plant cell shape arrive at the appropriate location in the cell to do their job.

"Cellulose is the most abundant reservoir of renewable hydrocarbons in the world," remarked Carnegie's David Ehrhardt, a coauthor. "To understand how cellulose might be modified and how plant development might be manipulated to improve crop plants as efficient sources of energy, we need to first understand the cellular processes that create cellulose and build cell walls."

Plant cells have rigid walls that cannot easily change shape. There are many cell types, spiky trichomes to fend off bugs and sausage-shaped guard cells that regulate the plant's breathing pores, as examples. In a previous study using the model plant Arabidopsis, Ehrhardt and team used groundbreaking imaging techniques to watch the molecules that create this array of shapes. It provided the first direct evidence for a functional connection between synthesis of the cell wall and an array of protein fiberscalled microtubulesthat provide the scaffolding that allow diverse plant cell shapes to be created as the cell wall pushes outward.

In that study, the group engineered plants to produce a fluorescent version of cellulose synthase, the enzyme that creates cellulose fibers. They also included a fluorescent version of tubulin, the protein from which microtubules are built. Using advanced imaging techniques, they tracked the motion of single fluorescent molecules, and found that cellulose synthase moves along "tracks" defined by the microtubules.

In this paper, the researchers looked at how the association between the cellulose synthase complexes and microtubules begins. The scientists were able to watch individual cellulose synthase complexes as they were delivered to the plasma membranethe permeable film that surrounds the cell, but is inside the cell wall and found that the microtubules not only guide where the complexes go as they build the cell wall, but microtubules also organize the trafficking and delivery of the cellulose synthase complexes to their place of action.

They also looked at the role in trafficking of a structural element called the actin cytoskeleton that helps move organelles and maintains the cell's shape. They found that it appears to be required for the general distribution of the cellulose synthase complexes, whereas microtubules appear to be required for final positioning.

When there is a disruption of the complexes through a stressor such as a rapid change in water movement (osmotic stress), active cellulose synthase complexes disappear and organelles accumulate just under the plasma membrane. These organelles contain cellulose synthase and are tethered to the microtubules by a novel mechanism. Previously Ehrhardt and team found that plant microtubules move by shortening at one end while lengthening at the other end. They do this one tubulin molecule at a time, in a process the researchers call treadmilling. They now think that the tethering discovered in this research allows the cellulose synthase-containing organelles to stay with the treadmilling microtubules for prolonged periods in times of stress. They found that when the stress abates, these organelles deliver the cellulose synthase to the membrane.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Ehrhardt
ehrhardt@stanford.edu
650-325-1521 x261
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Restoring sight, advances in fertility treatments and better visibility for pilots at FIO
2. Advance in effort to fight malaria by tricking the mosquitos sense of smell
3. Selexis Announces Advanced Approach to Maximize Power of Genetic Elements for Rapid Development of High Performance Cell Lines
4. Frontiers in Optics presents scientific advancements
5. Embryonic stem cell strategy advanced with UCSF finding
6. UCLA/VA partners with ASU to advance biosensor technology for urinary tract infections
7. Cardiologists and heart surgeons meet for Controversies and Advances conference
8. Model for the assembly of advanced, single-molecule-based electronic components developed at Pitt
9. UC Irvine receives $2.18M to explore nano advancements in DNA sequencing
10. $1.1 million NSF grant to fund research in advanced light microscopy at UCLA
11. Ireland Cancer Center researchers advance stem cell gene therapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/25/2016)... SEATTLE , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, ... biotech, pharma and publication industries, will provide the data ... Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis ... even whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as ...
(Date:1/20/2016)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce the attainment of record-setting ... result of the company,s laser focus on (and growing ... it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable cloud-based technology platform. ... MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: , ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... January 13, 2016 ... addition of the  "India Biometrics Authentication ... Forecast (2015-2020)"  report to their ... has announced the addition of the  ... - Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)" ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... MONTREAL , Febr. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. ... is pleased to announce that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., ... bio-based succinic acid plant, is investing an additional CDN$25 ... equity, increasing its stake from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui ... of bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... announced that it has joined the Human Vaccines Project, a public-private partnership ... and cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project brings together leading pharmaceutical ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, a leading custom stainless ... Mountain Chapter 21st Annual Vendor Exhibition on Thursday, February 18, 2016. The Rocky ... its annual event, which will run from 3:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... has announced a new agreement with Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and ... Philippines, Thailand and Singapore in the latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: