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Trends Plant Sci. 2002 Oct;7(10):461-7.

Towards the mechanism of cellulose synthesis.

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Plant Cell Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, PO Box 475, Canberra, Australia.


Recent research has provided insights into how plants make cellulose - the major structural material of their cell walls and the basis of the cotton and wood fibre industries. Arabidopsis thaliana mutants impaired in cellulose production are defective in genes encoding membrane-bound glycosyltransferases, an endo-1,4-beta-glucanase and several enzymes involved in the N-glycosylation and quality-control pathways of the endoplasmic reticulum. The glycosyltransferases form the rosette terminal complexes seen in plasma membranes making cellulose. Synthesis might start by making lipoglucans, which, in turn, might form the substrate for the endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, before being elongated to form the long, crystalline microfibrils that assemble in the cell wall.

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