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Visualization of cellulose synthases in Arabidopsis secondary cell walls

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Science  09 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6257, pp. 198-203
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7446

Secondary cell walls built with speed

Plant cell walls provide the cellulose that is integral for wood, cotton fiber, and many biofuels. Cellulose is synthesized outside the cell membrane by cellulose synthase enzymes. Much of the secondary cell wall, responsible for the sturdiness of wood, is formed by xylem cells embedded in the core of the plant. Watanabe et al. leveraged ectopic expression to bring xylem-style cellulose synthase activity to the epidermal surface of the plant (see the Perspective by Schneider and Persson). Combining this improved accessibility with fluorescent tagging showed that secondary cell walls are built faster than primary cell walls, perhaps due to increased velocity and density of cellulose synthase complexes.

Science, this issue p. 198, see also p. 156