Molecular Analysis of Cellulose Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis

Science  30 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5351, pp. 717-720
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5351.717

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Cellulose, an abundant, crystalline polysaccharide, is central to plant morphogenesis and to many industries. Chemical and ultrastructural analyses together with map-based cloning indicate that the RSW1 locus of Arabidopsis encodes the catalytic subunit of cellulose synthase. The cloned gene complements the rsw1 mutant whose temperature-sensitive allele is changed in one amino acid. The mutant allele causes a specific reduction in cellulose synthesis, accumulation of noncrystalline β-1,4-glucan, disassembly of cellulose synthase, and widespread morphological abnormalities. Microfibril crystallization may require proper assembly of the RSW1 gene product into synthase complexes whereas glucan biosynthesis per se does not.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at Plant Cell Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Post Office Box 475, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. E-mail: richard{at}

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