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Structural Imaging of Native Cryo-Preserved Secondary Cell Walls Reveals the Presence of Macrofibrils and Their Formation Requires Normal Cellulose, Lignin and Xylan Biosynthesis.

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Authors

Lyczakowski, Jan J 
Terrett, Oliver M 
Helariutta, Ykä 
Wightman, Raymond 

Abstract

The woody secondary cell walls of plants are the largest repository of renewable carbon biopolymers on the planet. These walls are made principally from cellulose and hemicelluloses and are impregnated with lignin. Despite their importance as the main load bearing structure for plant growth, as well as their industrial importance as both a material and energy source, the precise arrangement of these constituents within the cell wall is not yet fully understood. We have adapted low temperature scanning electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) for imaging the nanoscale architecture of angiosperm and gymnosperm cell walls in their native hydrated state. Our work confirms that cell wall macrofibrils, cylindrical structures with a diameter exceeding 10 nm, are a common feature of the native hardwood and softwood samples. We have observed these same structures in Arabidopsis thaliana secondary cell walls, enabling macrofibrils to be compared between mutant lines that are perturbed in cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin formation. Our analysis indicates that the macrofibrils in Arabidopsis cell walls are dependent upon the proper biosynthesis, or composed, of cellulose, xylan, and lignin. This study establishes that cryo-SEM is a useful additional approach for investigating the native nanoscale architecture and composition of hardwood and softwood secondary cell walls and demonstrates the applicability of Arabidopsis genetic resources to relate fibril structure with wall composition and biosynthesis.

Description

Keywords

Lignin, Scanning electron microscopy, Cellulose, Hardwood, Cell walls, Softwood, Xylan, Macrofibrils

Journal Title

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1664-462X

Volume Title

Publisher

Sponsorship
European Research Council (271832, 323052)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/J014540/1, BB/M015432/1, BB/N013158/1)