Cellulose synthesis in two secondary cell wall processes in a single cell type

Venugopal Mendu, Jozsef Stork, Darby Harris, Seth Debolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Plant cells have a rigid cell wall that constrains internal turgor pressure yet extends in a regulated and organized manner to allow the cell to acquire shape. The primary load-bearing macromolecule of a plant cell wall is cellulose, which forms crystalline microfibrils that are organized with respect to a cell's function and shape requirements. A primary cell wall is deposited during expansion whereas secondary cell wall is synthesized post expansion during differentiation. A complex form of asymmetrical cellular differentiation occurs in Arabidopsis seed coat epidermal cells, where we have recently shown that two secondary cell wall processes occur that utilize different cellulose synthase (CESA) proteins. One process is to produce pectinaceous mucilage that expands upon hydration and the other is a radial wall thickening that reinforced the epidermal cell structure. Our data illustrate polarized specialization of CESA5 in facilitating mucilage attachment to the parent seed and CESA2, CESA5 and CESA9 in radial cell wall thickening and formation of the columella. Herein, we present a model for the complexity of cellulose biosynthesis in this highly differentiated cell type with further evidence supporting each cellulosic secondary cell wall process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1638-1643
Number of pages6
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation grants EFRI-0937657 and NSF-IOS-0922947.


  • Cell shape
  • Cellulose biosynthesis
  • Embryogenesis
  • Mucilage
  • Radial cell wall
  • Secondary cell wall biosynthesis
  • Seed coat
  • Seed development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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