PerspectivePlant Biology

Prime Time for Cellulose

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Science  04 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5552, pp. 59-60
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068155

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Plants cannot survive without cellulose, the primary constituent of their cell walls. Although some of the subunits composing the rosette-shaped cellulose synthase--the enzyme complex that synthesizes cellulose--have been identified, the biochemical steps in the initiation, elongation, and termination of the glucan chain are still something of a mystery. In their Perspective, Read and Bacic discuss new work ( Peng et al.) that reveals the identity of the lipid primer that initiates synthesis of the glucan chain.