Cellulose microfibril deposition: coordinated activity at the plant plasma membrane


Anne Mie C. Emons. Tel: +31 317 484329, +31 317 482155; fax: +31 317 485005; e-mail: annemie.emons@wur.nl


Plant cell wall production is a membrane-bound process. Cell walls are composed of cellulose microfibrils, embedded inside a matrix of other polysaccharides and glycoproteins. The cell wall matrix is extruded into the existing cell wall by exocytosis. This same process also inserts the cellulose synthase complexes into the plasma membrane. These complexes, the nanomachines that produce the cellulose microfibrils, move inside the plasma membrane leaving the cellulose microfibrils in their wake. Cellulose microfibril angle is an important determinant of cell development and of tissue properties and as such relevant for the industrial use of plant material. Here, we provide an integrated view of the events taking place in the not more than 100 nm deep area in and around the plasma membrane, correlating recent results provided by the distinct field of plant cell biology. We discuss the coordinated activities of exocytosis, endocytosis, and movement of cellulose synthase complexes while producing cellulose microfibrils and the link of these processes to the cortical microtubules.