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Science. 2002 Jan 4;295(5552):147-50.

Sitosterol-beta-glucoside as primer for cellulose synthesis in plants.

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  • 1Section of Plant Biology, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Cellulose synthesis in plants requires beta-1,4-glucan chain initiation, elongation, and termination. The process of chain elongation is likely to be distinct from the process of chain initiation. We demonstrate that a CesA glucosyltransferase initiates glucan polymerization by using sitosterol-beta-glucoside (SG) as primer. Cotton fiber membranes synthesize sitosterol-cellodextrins (SCDs) from SG and uridine 5'-diphosphate-glucose (UDP-Glc) under conditions that also favor cellulose synthesis. The cellulase encoded by the Korrigan (Kor) gene, required for cellulose synthesis in plants, may function to cleave SG from the growing polymer chain.

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