Special Issue "Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis"

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A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Philip J. Harris (Website)

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: +64-9-373-7599 ext 88366
Fax: +64 9 373 7417
Interests: wood cell walls; cell-wall biosynthesis; cell-wall phenolics; cell-wall evolution; dietary fibre

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant cell walls play a central and dynamic role in plant growth and are the major sink for photosynthetically fixed carbon. Plant cell walls are also enormously important economically, being the major component of wood, the dietary fibre of foods, and, in forage plants, are the main energy source for ruminant animals. In recent years, there has also been growing interest in lignified secondary walls (“lignocelluloses”) from a variety of sources such as biomass for the production of second generation biofuels. To obtain an understanding of the complex structures and possible functions of the different cell-wall components and their variation among different taxa, in different organs, tissues and cell types, at different stages of development, and after specific genetic manipulations, a wide range of different analytical techniques have been developed. This Special Issue will highlight the application of such techniques. Contributions on any aspect of plant cell wall chemical or metabolic analyses are welcome.

Prof. Philip J Harris
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • high-performance anion-exchange chromatography (HPAEC)
  • gas chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy
  • infrared spectroscopy
  • immunochemistry
  • phenolic components
  • carbohydrates

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Determining the Composition of Lignins in Different Tissues of Silver Birch
Plants 2015, 4(2), 183-195; doi:10.3390/plants4020183
Received: 5 December 2014 / Revised: 9 February 2015 / Accepted: 23 March 2015 / Published: 9 April 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Quantitative and qualitative lignin analyses were carried out on material from the trunks of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) trees. Two types of material were analyzed. First, whole birch trunk pieces were cryosectioned into cork cambium, non-conductive phloem, the cambial zone [...] Read more.
Quantitative and qualitative lignin analyses were carried out on material from the trunks of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) trees. Two types of material were analyzed. First, whole birch trunk pieces were cryosectioned into cork cambium, non-conductive phloem, the cambial zone (conductive phloem, cambium and differentiating xylem), lignified xylem and the previous year’s xylem; material that would show differences in lignin amount and quality. Second, clonal material from one natural birch population was analyzed to show variations between individuals and between the lignin analysis methods. The different tissues showed marked differences in lignin amount and the syringyl:guaiacyl (S/G) ratio. In the non-conductive phloem tissue containing sclereids, the S/G ratio was very low, and typical for phloem fibers and in the newly-formed xylem, as well as in the previous year’s xylem, the ratio lay between five and seven, typical for broadleaf tree xylem. Clonal material consisting of 88 stems was used to calculate the S/G ratios from the thioacidolysis and CuO methods, which correlated positively with an R2 value of 0.43. Comparisons of the methods indicate clearly that the CuO method is a good alternative to study the monomeric composition and S/G ratio of wood lignins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle Cell Wall Loosening in the Fungus, Phycomyces blakesleeanus
Plants 2015, 4(1), 63-84; doi:10.3390/plants4010063
Received: 24 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 21 January 2015
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Abstract
A considerable amount of research has been conducted to determine how cell walls are loosened to produce irreversible wall deformation and expansive growth in plant and algal cells. The same cannot be said about fungal cells. Almost nothing is known about how [...] Read more.
A considerable amount of research has been conducted to determine how cell walls are loosened to produce irreversible wall deformation and expansive growth in plant and algal cells. The same cannot be said about fungal cells. Almost nothing is known about how fungal cells loosen their walls to produce irreversible wall deformation and expansive growth. In this study, anoxia is used to chemically isolate the wall from the protoplasm of the sporangiophores of Phycomyces blakesleeanus. The experimental results provide direct evidence of the existence of chemistry within the fungal wall that is responsible for wall loosening, irreversible wall deformation and elongation growth. In addition, constant-tension extension experiments are conducted on frozen-thawed sporangiophore walls to obtain insight into the wall chemistry and wall loosening mechanism. It is found that a decrease in pH to 4.6 produces creep extension in the frozen-thawed sporangiophore wall that is similar, but not identical, to that found in frozen-thawed higher plant cell walls. Experimental results from frozen-thawed and boiled sporangiophore walls suggest that protein activity may be involved in the creep extension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Identification of the Abundant Hydroxyproline-Rich Glycoproteins in the Root Walls of Wild-Type Arabidopsis, an ext3 Mutant Line, and Its Phenotypic Revertant
Plants 2015, 4(1), 85-111; doi:10.3390/plants4010085
Received: 9 November 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 21 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1577 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Extensins are members of the cell wall hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein (HRGP) superfamily that form covalently cross-linked networks in primary cell walls. A knockout mutation in EXT3 (AT1G21310), the gene coding EXTENSIN 3 (EXT3) in Arabidopsis Landsberg erecta resulted in a lethal [...] Read more.
Extensins are members of the cell wall hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein (HRGP) superfamily that form covalently cross-linked networks in primary cell walls. A knockout mutation in EXT3 (AT1G21310), the gene coding EXTENSIN 3 (EXT3) in Arabidopsis Landsberg erecta resulted in a lethal phenotype, although about 20% of the knockout plants have an apparently normal phenotype (ANP). In this study the root cell wall HRGP components of wild-type, ANP and the ext3 mutant seedlings were characterized by peptide fractionation of trypsin digested anhydrous hydrogen fluoride deglycosylated wall residues and by sequencing using LC-MS/MS. Several HRGPs, including EXT3, were identified in the wild-type root walls but not in walls of the ANP and lethal mutant. Indeed the ANP walls and walls of mutants displaying the lethal phenotype possessed HRGPs, but the profiles suggest that changes in the amount and perhaps type may account for the corresponding phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Quantification of (1→4)-β-d-Galactans in Compression Wood Using an Immuno-Dot Assay
Plants 2015, 4(1), 29-43; doi:10.3390/plants4010029
Received: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (822 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Compression wood is a type of reaction wood formed on the underside of softwood stems when they are tilted from the vertical and on the underside of branches. Its quantification is still a matter of some scientific debate. We developed a new [...] Read more.
Compression wood is a type of reaction wood formed on the underside of softwood stems when they are tilted from the vertical and on the underside of branches. Its quantification is still a matter of some scientific debate. We developed a new technique that has the potential to do this based on the higher proportions of (1→4)-β-d-galactans that occur in tracheid cell walls of compression wood. Wood was milled, partially delignified, and the non-cellulosic polysaccharides, including the (1→4)-β-d-galactans, extracted with 6 M sodium hydroxide. After neutralizing, the solution was serially diluted, and the (1→4)-β-d-galactans determined by an immuno-dot assay using the monoclonal antibody LM5, which specifically recognizes this polysaccharide. Spots were quantified using a dilution series of a commercially available (1→4)-β-d-galactan from lupin seeds. Using this method, compression and opposite woods from radiata pine (Pinus radiata) were easily distinguished based on the amounts of (1→4)-β-d-galactans extracted. The non-cellulosic polysaccharides in the milled wood samples were also hydrolysed using 2 M trifluoroacetic acid followed by the separation and quantification of the released neutral monosaccharides by high performance anion exchange chromatography. This confirmed that the compression woods contained higher proportions of galactose-containing polysaccharides than the opposite woods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
Open AccessCommunication Glycoside Hydrolase Activities in Cell Walls of Sclerenchyma Cells in the Inflorescence Stems of Arabidopsis thaliana Visualized in Situ
Plants 2014, 3(4), 513-525; doi:10.3390/plants3040513
Received: 29 September 2014 / Revised: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 30 October 2014 / Published: 12 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2053 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Techniques for in situ localization of gene products provide indispensable information for understanding biological function. In the case of enzymes, biological function is directly related to activity, and therefore, knowledge of activity patterns is central to understanding the molecular controls of plant [...] Read more.
Techniques for in situ localization of gene products provide indispensable information for understanding biological function. In the case of enzymes, biological function is directly related to activity, and therefore, knowledge of activity patterns is central to understanding the molecular controls of plant development. We have previously developed a novel type of fluorogenic substrate for revealing glycoside hydrolase activity in planta, based on resorufin β-glycosides Here, we explore a wider range of such substrates to visualize glycoside hydrolase activities in Arabidopsis inflorescence stems in real time, especially highlighting distinct distribution patterns of these activities in the secondary cell walls of sclerenchyma cells. The results demonstrate that β-1,4-glucosidase, β-1,4-glucanase and β-1,4-galactosidase activities accompany secondary wall deposition. In contrast, xyloglucanase activity follows a different pattern, with the highest signal observed in mature cells, concentrated in the middle lamella. These data further the understanding of the process of cell wall deposition and function in sclerenchymatic tissues of plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Measuring the Mechanical Properties of Plant Cell Walls
Plants 2015, 4(2), 167-182; doi:10.3390/plants4020167
Received: 23 January 2015 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 25 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (6177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The size, shape and stability of a plant depend on the flexibility and integrity of its cell walls, which, at the same time, need to allow cell expansion for growth, while maintaining mechanical stability. Biomechanical studies largely vanished from the focus of [...] Read more.
The size, shape and stability of a plant depend on the flexibility and integrity of its cell walls, which, at the same time, need to allow cell expansion for growth, while maintaining mechanical stability. Biomechanical studies largely vanished from the focus of plant science with the rapid progress of genetics and molecular biology since the mid-twentieth century. However, the development of more sensitive measurement tools renewed the interest in plant biomechanics in recent years, not only to understand the fundamental concepts of growth and morphogenesis, but also with regard to economically important areas in agriculture, forestry and the paper industry. Recent advances have clearly demonstrated that mechanical forces play a crucial role in cell and organ morphogenesis, which ultimately define plant morphology. In this article, we will briefly review the available methods to determine the mechanical properties of cell walls, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and microindentation assays, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. But we will focus on a novel methodological approach, called cellular force microscopy (CFM), and its automated successor, real-time CFM (RT-CFM). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
Open AccessReview Cell Wall Metabolism in Response to Abiotic Stress
Plants 2015, 4(1), 112-166; doi:10.3390/plants4010112
Received: 16 December 2014 / Revised: 5 February 2015 / Accepted: 11 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 30 | PDF Full-text (2459 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review focuses on the responses of the plant cell wall to several abiotic stresses including drought, flooding, heat, cold, salt, heavy metals, light, and air pollutants. The effects of stress on cell wall metabolism are discussed at the physiological (morphogenic), transcriptomic, [...] Read more.
This review focuses on the responses of the plant cell wall to several abiotic stresses including drought, flooding, heat, cold, salt, heavy metals, light, and air pollutants. The effects of stress on cell wall metabolism are discussed at the physiological (morphogenic), transcriptomic, proteomic and biochemical levels. The analysis of a large set of data shows that the plant response is highly complex. The overall effects of most abiotic stress are often dependent on the plant species, the genotype, the age of the plant, the timing of the stress application, and the intensity of this stress. This shows the difficulty of identifying a common pattern of stress response in cell wall architecture that could enable adaptation and/or resistance to abiotic stress. However, in most cases, two main mechanisms can be highlighted: (i) an increased level in xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolase (XTH) and expansin proteins, associated with an increase in the degree of rhamnogalacturonan I branching that maintains cell wall plasticity and (ii) an increased cell wall thickening by reinforcement of the secondary wall with hemicellulose and lignin deposition. Taken together, these results show the need to undertake large-scale analyses, using multidisciplinary approaches, to unravel the consequences of stress on the cell wall. This will help identify the key components that could be targeted to improve biomass production under stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Open AccessReview The Utilization of Plant Facilities on the International Space Station—The Composition, Growth, and Development of Plant Cell Walls under Microgravity Conditions
Plants 2015, 4(1), 44-62; doi:10.3390/plants4010044
Received: 6 October 2014 / Revised: 27 November 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1010 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the preparation for missions to Mars, basic knowledge of the mechanisms of growth and development of living plants under microgravity (micro-g) conditions is essential. Focus has centered on the g-effects on rigidity, including mechanisms of signal perception, transduction, and response in [...] Read more.
In the preparation for missions to Mars, basic knowledge of the mechanisms of growth and development of living plants under microgravity (micro-g) conditions is essential. Focus has centered on the g-effects on rigidity, including mechanisms of signal perception, transduction, and response in gravity resistance. These components of gravity resistance are linked to the evolution and acquisition of responses to various mechanical stresses. An overview is given both on the basic effect of hypergravity as well as of micro-g conditions in the cell wall changes. The review includes plant experiments in the US Space Shuttle and the effect of short space stays (8–14 days) on single cells (plant protoplasts). Regeneration of protoplasts is dependent on cortical microtubules to orient the nascent cellulose microfibrils in the cell wall. The space protoplast experiments demonstrated that the regeneration capacity of protoplasts was retarded. Two critical factors are the basis for longer space experiments: a. the effects of gravity on the molecular mechanisms for cell wall development, b. the availability of facilities and hardware for performing cell wall experiments in space and return of RNA/DNA back to the Earth. Linked to these aspects is a description of existing hardware functioning on the International Space Station. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Open AccessReview Plant Polygalacturonases Involved in Cell Elongation and Separation—The Same but Different?
Plants 2014, 3(4), 613-623; doi:10.3390/plants3040613
Received: 10 October 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 28 November 2014 / Published: 9 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plant cells are surrounded by the primary cell wall, a rigid framework that needs to be modified in order to allow cell growth. Recent data suggest that in addition to the cellulose-hemicellulose network, the pectin matrix plays a critical role in determining [...] Read more.
Plant cells are surrounded by the primary cell wall, a rigid framework that needs to be modified in order to allow cell growth. Recent data suggest that in addition to the cellulose-hemicellulose network, the pectin matrix plays a critical role in determining the elasticity of the primary cell wall. Polygalacturonases are key homogalacturonan-hydrolyzing enzymes that function in a wide range of developmental processes. In this review, we present recent progress in understanding the role of polygalacturonases during cell elongation and separation. In discussing the specificities and possible redundancies of polygalacturonases, we focus particularly on newly discovered Arabidopsis mutants that have measurable loss-of-function phenotypes. However, data from other species are included when necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Open AccessReview Penium margaritaceum: A Unicellular Model Organism for Studying Plant Cell Wall Architecture and Dynamics
Plants 2014, 3(4), 543-558; doi:10.3390/plants3040543
Received: 28 September 2014 / Revised: 16 October 2014 / Accepted: 6 November 2014 / Published: 18 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Penium margaritaceum is a new and valuable unicellular model organism for studying plant cell wall structure and developmental dynamics. This charophyte has a cell wall composition remarkably similar to the primary cell wall of many higher plants and clearly-defined inclusive zones containing [...] Read more.
Penium margaritaceum is a new and valuable unicellular model organism for studying plant cell wall structure and developmental dynamics. This charophyte has a cell wall composition remarkably similar to the primary cell wall of many higher plants and clearly-defined inclusive zones containing specific polymers. Penium has a simple cylindrical phenotype with a distinct region of focused wall synthesis. Specific polymers, particularly pectins, can be identified using monoclonal antibodies raised against polymers of higher plant cell walls. Immunofluorescence-based labeling is easily performed using live cells that subsequently can be returned to culture and monitored. This feature allows for rapid assessment of wall expansion rates and identification of multiple polymer types in the wall microarchitecture during the cell cycle. Cryofixation by means of spray freezing provides excellent transmission electron microscopy imaging of the cell, including its elaborate endomembrane and cytoskeletal systems, both integral to cell wall development. Penium’s fast growth rate allows for convenient microarray screening of various agents that alter wall biosynthesis and metabolism. Finally, recent successful development of transformed cell lines has allowed for non-invasive imaging of proteins in cells and for RNAi reverse genetics that can be used for cell wall biosynthesis studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
Open AccessReview Structural Diversity and Function of Xyloglucan Sidechain Substituents
Plants 2014, 3(4), 526-542; doi:10.3390/plants3040526
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 3 November 2014 / Accepted: 4 November 2014 / Published: 13 November 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (607 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Xyloglucan (XyG) is a hemicellulose found in the cell walls of all land plants including early-divergent groups such as liverworts, hornworts and mosses. The basic structure of XyG, a xylosylated glucan, is similar in all of these plants but additional substituents can [...] Read more.
Xyloglucan (XyG) is a hemicellulose found in the cell walls of all land plants including early-divergent groups such as liverworts, hornworts and mosses. The basic structure of XyG, a xylosylated glucan, is similar in all of these plants but additional substituents can vary depending on plant family, tissue, and developmental stage. A comprehensive list of known XyG sidechain substituents is assembled including their occurrence within plant families, thereby providing insight into the evolutionary origin of the various sidechains. Recent advances in DNA sequencing have enabled comparative genomics approaches for the identification of XyG biosynthetic enzymes in Arabidopsis thaliana as well as in non-model plant species. Characterization of these biosynthetic genes not only allows the determination of their substrate specificity but also provides insights into the function of the various substituents in plant growth and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)

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