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Keywords:

  • cell wall;
  • cellulose;
  • CESA;
  • Porphyra;
  • terminal complex

The cell walls of Porphyra species, like those of land plants, contain cellulose microfibrils that are synthesized by clusters of cellulose synthase enzymes (“terminal complexes”), which move in the plasma membrane. However, the morphologies of the Porphyra terminal complexes and the cellulose microfibrils they produce differ from those of land plants. To characterize the genetic basis for these differences, we have identified, cloned, and sequenced a cellulose synthase (CESA) gene from Porphyra yezoensis Ueda strain TU-1. A partial cDNA sequence was identified in the P. yezoensis expressed sequence tag (EST) index using a land plant CESA sequence as a query. High-efficiency thermal asymmetric interlaced PCR was used to amplify sequences upstream of the cDNA sequence from P. yezoensis genomic DNA. Using the resulting genomic sequences as queries, we identified additional EST sequences and a full-length cDNA clone, which we named PyCESA1. The conceptual translation of PyCESA1 includes the four catalytic domains and the N- and C-terminal transmembrane domains that characterize CESA proteins. Genomic PCR demonstrated that PyCESA1 contains no introns. Southern blot analysis indicated that P. yezoensis has at least three genomic sequences with high similarity to the cloned gene; two of these are pseudogenes based on analysis of amplified genomic sequences. The P. yezoensis CESA peptide sequence is most similar to cellulose synthase sequences from the oomycete Phytophthora infestans and from cyanobacteria. Comparing the CESA genes of P. yezoensis and land plants may facilitate identification of sequences that control terminal complex and cellulose microfibril morphology.