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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

In recent years, progress has been made in the identification of genes that encodeproteins critical for the process of cellulose synthesis in plants. CesA genes encodeproteins that are proposed to catalyze the glucan chain elongation step. CesA genes comprise a relatively large gene family in which some members may function in cell-type-specific expression, while others may serve as redundant genes mutually expressed within one cell type. In addition to CesA, evidence suggests the importance of other proteins in the process. For example, a cytoskeletal-anchored form of sucrose synthase may play a role in channeling substrate, and other cytoskeletal proteins may be involved in directing the orientation of microfibril deposition. Recent evidence suggests that a membrane-associated cellulase also plays somecritical role in the process of cellulose synthesis. While the power of molecularbiology, isolation of specific mutants, and genomics are certainly leading to new insights into the process, the major challenge still facing the field is to develop functional assays in which the entire process can be reconstituted and the specific roles played by each gene product clarified.

Affiliations: 1: Section of Plant Biology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616 USA


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