Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

CSI at the service of cellulose synthesis: Plant researchers identify protein involved in formation of cellulose

Date:
July 21, 2010
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Grains, vegetables and fruit taste delicious and are important sources of energy. However, humans cannot digest the main component of plants - the cellulose in the cell wall. Even in ruminants, animals that can metabolize cellulose, the digestibility of the cell wall plays a crucial role in feed utilization. Scientists are therefore looking for ways of increasing the digestibility of animal feed, and of utilizing plant cell walls to generate energy. To do this they must first understand how plant cells develop their cell walls from cellulose and identify the genes and proteins involved. Scientists have now discovered a hitherto unknown protein required for cellulose production.

Electron microscope image of Arabidopsis pollen: A: Typical pollen grain from an Arabidopsis model plant with normal cellulose production B: Deformed pollen grain from a cellulose-deficient mutant, e.g. lacking CSI1
Credit: Image by Staffan Persson

Grains, vegetables and fruit taste delicious and are important sources of energy. However, humans cannot digest the main component of plants -- the cellulose in the cell wall. Even in ruminants, animals that can metabolise cellulose, the digestibility of the cell wall plays a crucial role in feed utilisation. Scientists are therefore looking for ways of increasing the digestibility of animal feed, and of utilising plant cell walls to generate energy. To do this they must first understand how plant cells develop their cell walls from cellulose and identify the genes and proteins involved.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam, working in collaboration with colleagues from the USA, have now discovered a hitherto unknown protein required for cellulose production. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Unlike animal cells, plant cells have a cell wall made of various sugar polymers, the main component of which is cellulose. This gives the plant its stability, protects it against pathogens and is involved in seed germination and fruit maturity. Cellulose accounts for between 35% and 50% of the dry weight of plants, making it the most common biopolymer on earth.

Cellulose is synthesized directly at the plasma membrane by a protein complex. Up to now, cellulose synthase (CESA) was the only known component of this complex. This enzyme arises in plant cells in different forms that vary in structure. Genetic studies indicate that three of these forms, CESA1, CESA3 and CESA6, are required for the synthesis of the primary cell wall, while CESA4, CESA7 and CESA8 are necessary for the synthesis of the secondary cell wall. The primary cell wall forms during cell growth and is particularly flexible and ductile. In contrast, the secondary cell wall forms when the cell is fully grown and is thicker and more rigid than the primary cell wall.

It was not previously known how many forms of CESA exist in the protein complex and whether it contains other proteins. Scientists working with Staffan Persson at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and their colleagues in the USA have now identified the Cellulose Synthase-Interactive Protein -- CSI1 -- which is involved in cellulose synthesis. CSI1 appears to be associated with the CESA complex as it interacts with the cellulose synthases of the primary cell wall (CESA1, 3 and 6). The researchers succeeded in demonstrating that the protein plays an important role in the formation of cellulose. "Plants that cannot form any CSI1 due to a mutation demonstrably produce less cellulose. They have short and swollen roots, and their pollen grains collapse," explains Dr. Staffan Persson.

The scientists have yet to discover the precise role played by CSI1 in cellulose synthesis. They suspect that the protein influences the speed of cellulose production and the spatial orientation of the individual cellulose fibrils. The researchers would thus now like to examine the precise role of CSI1. The insights gained from these more detailed studies will contribute to a better understanding of the biosynthesis of cell walls. This knowledge could increase the chances of achieving better cell wall digestibility in animal feed, and enable the utilisation of cell walls to generate energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Gu, N. Kaplinsky, M. Bringmann, A. Cobb, A. Carroll, A. Sampathkumar, T. I. Baskin, S. Persson, C. R. Somerville. Identification of a cellulose synthase-associated protein required for cellulose biosynthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1007092107

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "CSI at the service of cellulose synthesis: Plant researchers identify protein involved in formation of cellulose." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720083254.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2010, July 21). CSI at the service of cellulose synthesis: Plant researchers identify protein involved in formation of cellulose. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720083254.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "CSI at the service of cellulose synthesis: Plant researchers identify protein involved in formation of cellulose." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720083254.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins