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Int Rev Cytol. 1997;176:87-132.

Lignification in plant cell walls.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, University of Murcia, Spain.


Cell wall lignification is a complex process occurring exclusively in higher plants; its main function is to strengthen the plant vascular body. This process involves the deposition of ill-defined phenolic polymers, the so-called lignins, on the extracellular polysaccharidic matrix. These polymers arise from the oxidative coupling of three cinnamyl alcohols in a nonrandom reaction, in which cell wall polysaccharides appear to influence the freedom of cinnamyl alcohol radicals, giving rise to a highly orchestrated process. This review is focused on the most recent advances in the chemical, biochemical, cytological, physiological, and evolutive aspects of cell wall lignification. As we shall see throughout this review, there are still some open questions to be answered which may serve as the basis of future endeavors.

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