Cellulose biosynthesis in plants – the concerted action of CESA and non-CESA proteins
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Cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide produced by plants. In the form of rigid microfibrils surrounding the cells, cellulose constitutes the load-bearing cell wall element that controls cell growth and shape. Cellulose microfibrils are laid down outside the cell by the multimeric plasma membrane-inserted cellulose synthase complexes (CSCs), which move along underlying cortical microtubules (CMTs). In plants, CSCs are shaped as rosettes with six lobes symmetrically arranged in a hexagonal structure. In Arabidopsis, the CSC is composed of at least three functionally non-redundant cellulose synthase (CESA) glycosyltransferases in both primary and secondary cell walls. The number, organization, and interactions of CESA proteins within the CSC have been debated for many years on the basis of numerous lines of evidence provided by electron microscopy, biochemical and genetic approaches, spectroscopic techniques, as well as computational modeling. The Arabidopsis thaliana model was extremely useful in elucidating the molecular composition of CSC and enabled to elucidate the specialized functions of distinct AtCESA isoforms. Several additional, non-CESA proteins involved in cellulose synthesis and its regulation were also identified in Arabidopsis. This review outlines the latest findings on CSC organization, trafficking, and plant-specific proteins directly associated with the complex and interconnecting CESAs with CMTs.
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