Cell wall

The plant cell wall is a complex matrix of linked polysaccharides such as cellulose and pectin, forming a thick semi-permeable rigid barrier outside the plasma membrane. It physically protects and constrains the cell, and its exact composition is highly variable depending on the species.


Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Cell wall pits allow movement of water between xylem vessels and are formed via Rho-GTPase mediated signaling that leads to local microtubule disassembly. Here, Sugiyama et al. show that an additional Rho-GTPase pathway controls cell wall deposition and actin dynamics to form pit boundaries.

    • Yuki Sugiyama
    • , Yoshinobu Nagashima
    • , Mayumi Wakazaki
    • , Mayuko Sato
    • , Kiminori Toyooka
    • , Hiroo Fukuda
    •  & Yoshihisa Oda
  • Research | | open

    The interactions of lignin with polysaccharides in plant secondary cell walls are not well understood. Here the authors employ solid-state NMR measurements to analyse intact stems of maize, Arabidopsis, switchgrass and rice and observe that lignin self-aggregates and forms highly hydrophobic microdomains that make extensive surface contacts to xylan.

    • Xue Kang
    • , Alex Kirui
    • , Malitha C. Dickwella Widanage
    • , Frederic Mentink-Vigier
    • , Daniel J. Cosgrove
    •  & Tuo Wang
  • Research |

    A distinct feature of pollen gains is their resistant outer wall, called the exine, which is mainly composed of sporopollenin, the toughest biopolymer known to date despite an unknown detailed structure. Now, a structural model of pine sporopollenin is revealed by the application of new degradation chemistry and solid-state NMR spectroscopy.

    • Fu-Shuang Li
    • , Pyae Phyo
    • , Joseph Jacobowitz
    • , Mei Hong
    •  & Jing-Ke Weng
    Nature Plants 5, 41-46
  • Research | | open

    Despite their importance in plant development and defence the properties of (1,3)-β-glucan remain largely unknown. Here, the authors find that addition of (1,3)-β-glucans increases the flexibility of cellulose and its resilience to high strain, an effect originating in molecular level interactions.

    • Radwa H. Abou-Saleh
    • , Mercedes C. Hernandez-Gomez
    • , Sam Amsbury
    • , Candelas Paniagua
    • , Matthieu Bourdon
    • , Shunsuke Miyashima
    • , Ykä Helariutta
    • , Martin Fuller
    • , Tatiana Budtova
    • , Simon D. Connell
    • , Michael E. Ries
    •  & Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso
  • Research |

    Plant primary and secondary cell walls have distinct features and functions. Now, scientists have successfully replaced the secondary cell wall in Arabidopsis xylem fibres with a thick primary cell wall by specifically overexpressing AP2/ERF transcription factors.

    • Shingo Sakamoto
    • , Marc Somssich
    • , Miyuki T. Nakata
    • , Faride Unda
    • , Kimie Atsuzawa
    • , Yasuko Kaneko
    • , Ting Wang
    • , Anne-Maarit Bågman
    • , Allison Gaudinier
    • , Kouki Yoshida
    • , Siobhan M. Brady
    • , Shawn D. Mansfield
    • , Staffan Persson
    •  & Nobutaka Mitsuda
    Nature Plants 4, 777-783

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Curcumin, an aromatic diarylheptanoid, is a principal component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), commonly used in Asian cooking, giving curry its orange colour. Introducing two enzymes into Arabidopsis thaliana caused incorporation of curcumin into its lignin polymer, enhancing sugar release from the cell wall and turning it yellow.

    • Gerald A. Tuskan
    Nature Plants 5, 128
  • News and Views |

    Plants synthesize a diversity of cell walls to fit the needs of different cell types and phases of development. A group of transcription factors has now been identified that governs formation of one type of primary cell wall.

    • Daniel J. Cosgrove
    Nature Plants 4, 748-749
  • News and Views |

    Cell walls made mainly of polysaccharides are a distinguishing feature of plants. They play key roles in adaptation today and during pivotal evolutionary events, such as colonization of dry land and development of a water-conducting vascular system. A critical enzyme involved in cell wall biosynthesis has now been identified.

    • Peter Ulvskov
    •  & Henrik V. Scheller
    Nature Plants 4, 635-636
  • News and Views |

    The evolutionary relationships between extinct species are almost exclusively based on the shape and structure of their fossil specimens. Now, a spectroscopic technique that records a ‘chemical fingerprint’ of fossil plant cuticles is being used to re-interpret the histories of thousands of specimens languishing in museum collections.

    • Jennifer C. McElwain
    Nature Plants 3, 17121