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Title: Re-constructing our models of cellulose and primary cell wall assembly

The cellulose microfibril has more subtlety than is commonly recognized. Details of its structure may influence how matrix polysaccharides interact with its distinctive hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces to form a strong yet extensible structure. We report that recent advances in this field include the first structures of bacterial and plant cellulose synthases and revised estimates of microfibril structure, reduced from 36 to 18 chains. New results also indicate that cellulose interactions with xyloglucan are more limited than commonly believed, whereas pectin-cellulose interactions are more prevalent. Computational results indicate that xyloglucan binds tightest to the hydrophobic surface of cellulose microfibrils. Finally, wall extensibility may be controlled at limited regions (“biomechanical hotspots”) where cellulose-cellulose contacts are made, potentially mediated by trace amounts of xyloglucan.
  1. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Dept of Biology
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1369-5266
Research Org:
Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC). Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Contributing Orgs:
CLSF partners with Pennsylvania State University (lead); North Carolina State University; University of Rhode Island; Virginia Tech University
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; biofuels (including algae and biomass); bio-inspired; membrane; carbon sequestration; materials and chemistry by design; synthesis (self-assembly)