Plant cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis: real progress in the identification of participating genes
Plant cell walls are comprised of cellulosic microfibrils embedded in a matrix of complex non-cellulosic polysaccharides, which generally include pectic polysaccharides, xyloglucans and heteroxylans as major constituents and heteromannans as minor constituents (Bacic et al. 1988). However, primary walls in grasses and commercially important cereals of the graminaceous monocotyledons are characterized by relatively low levels of pectic polysaccharides and xyloglucans; the major non-cellulosic polysaccharides in these species are glucuronoarabinoxylans and (1→3,1→4)-β-d-glucans (Smith and Harris 1999). Smaller amounts of protein, phenolic acids and glycoproteins are present in the walls of most plants, callose is detectable in some walls, and lignin is often found after secondary thickening.
Here, we review recent progress towards the characterization of genes that encode enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of major wall polysaccharides, and consider emerging...
KeywordsCell walls Cellulose synthase-like genes Functional genomics Genetic approaches Polysaccharide biosynthesis
This work was supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Australian Research Council. We thank Keith Gatford and Neil Shirley for invaluable assistance in several aspects of the work.
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