, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 57–69 | Cite as

Correlation between crystalline cellulose structure and cellulose synthase complex shape: a spectroscopic study with unicellular freshwater alga Micrasterias

  • Shixin Huang
  • Sarah N. Kiemle
  • Mohamadamin Makarem
  • Seong H. KimEmail author
Original Research


Cellulose is synthesized into fibrils by enzyme complexes called cellulose synthase complexes (CSCs). We analyzed cellulose fibrils produced in a dividing unicellular freshwater alga Micrasterias with vibrational sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy. It is known that cellulose in the daughter semi-cell of Micrasterias is synthesized by the isolated individual rosette-shape CSC, while cellulose in the mother semi-cell is produced by hexagonal arrays of rosette-shape CSCs. Comparing the SFG spectra of cellulose in these two regions of a single cell of Micrasterias showed intriguing correlations between the polymorphic structure and crystal size of cellulose and the shape and size of the CSCs. This information may provide a foundation needed to understand what determines the cellulose structure and crystallinity in plant cell walls.


Cellulose polymorph Cellulose synthase complexes Terminal complexes Micrasterias Sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy 



This work was supported by the Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation, Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under Award Number DE-SC0001090. The authors acknowledge David Domozych at Skidmore College for providing the Micrasterias culture for this study. The authors acknowledge Dr. Daniel Cosgrove for helpful discussion.

Supplementary material

10570_2019_2793_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1154 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shixin Huang
    • 1
  • Sarah N. Kiemle
    • 2
  • Mohamadamin Makarem
    • 1
  • Seong H. Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Research InstitutePennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Science CenterMount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA

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