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Xylan decoration patterns and the plant secondary cell wall molecular architecture.

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Busse-Wicher, Marta 
Grantham, Nicholas J 
Lyczakowski, Jan J 
Nikolovski, Nino 


The molecular architecture of plant secondary cell walls is still not resolved. There are several proposed structures for cellulose fibrils, the main component of plant cell walls and the conformation of other molecules is even less well known. Glucuronic acid (GlcA) substitution of xylan (GUX) enzymes, in CAZy family glycosyl transferase (GT)8, decorate the xylan backbone with various specific patterns of GlcA. It was recently discovered that dicot xylan has a domain with the side chain decorations distributed on every second unit of the backbone (xylose). If the xylan backbone folds in a similar way to glucan chains in cellulose (2-fold helix), this kind of arrangement may allow the undecorated side of the xylan chain to hydrogen bond with the hydrophilic surface of cellulose microfibrils. MD simulations suggest that such interactions are energetically stable. We discuss the possible role of this xylan decoration pattern in building of the plant cell wall.



cell wall, cellulose, decoration pattern, docking, molecular architecture, xylan, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Cell Wall, Cellulose, Phylogeny, Plants, Xylans

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Biochem Soc Trans

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Portland Press Ltd.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/G016240/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/K005537/1)
We thank Nadine Anders for helpful comments on the manuscript. The work was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Programme Grant : The Centre for Natural Material Innovation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant numbers [BB/K005537/1] and [BB/G016240/1].