[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the cell walls of higher plants, cellulose chains are present in crystalline microfibril, with an amorphous part at the surface, or present as amorphous material. To assess the distribution and relative occurrence of the two forms of cellulose in the inflorescence stem of Arabidopsis, we used two carbohydrate-binding modules, CBM3a and CBM28, specific for crystalline and amorphous cellulose, respectively, with immunogold detection in TEM. The binding of the two CBMs displayed specific patterns suggesting that the synthesis of cellulose leads to variable nanodomains of cellulose structures according to cell type. In developing cell walls, only CBM3a bound significantly to the incipient primary walls, indicating that at the onset of its deposition cellulose is in a crystalline structure. As the secondary wall develops, the labeling with both CBMs becomes more intense. The variation of the labeling pattern by CBM3a between transverse and longitudinal sections appeared related to microfibril orientation and differed between fibers and vessels. Although the two CBMs do not allow the description of the complete status of cellulose microstructures, they revealed the dynamics of the deposition of crystalline and amorphous forms of cellulose during wall formation and between cell types adapting cellulose microstructures to the cell function.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pycnoporus cinnabarinus laccase and a chimeric laccase-CBM were applied in softwood kraft pulp biobleaching in the presence of 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (HBT). The presence of CBM could enhance the laccase biobleaching potential as a decrease in the enzymatic charge and chlorine dioxide consumption, as well as an increase in pulp brightness were observed. Laccase/HBT treatment could be improved by increasing oxygen pressure from 1 to 3bar and pulp consistency from 5% to 10%. Conversely, under the same conditions, no improvement of laccase-CBM/HBT treatment was observed, indicating a different behavior of both systems. However, laccase-CBM/HBT treatment led to a better preservation of pulp properties. This effect was probably due to fiber surface modifications involving the action of the CBM. Transmission electron microscopy examination of pulp fibers indicated a retention of laccase-CBM inside the pulp fibers due to CBM binding and an increased external microfibrillation of the fibers due to enzymatic treatments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) is a key enzyme involved in the last step of monolignol biosynthesis. The effect of CAD down-regulation on lignin production was investigated through a transgenic approach in maize. Transgenic CAD-RNAi plants show a different degree of enzymatic reduction depending on the analyzed tissue and show alterations in cell wall composition. Cell walls of CAD-RNAi stems contain a lignin polymer with a slight reduction in the S-to-G ratio without affecting the total lignin content. In addition, these cell walls accumulate higher levels of cellulose and arabinoxylans. In contrast, cell walls of CAD-RNAi midribs present a reduction in the total lignin content and of cell wall polysaccharides. In vitro degradability assays showed that, although to a different extent, the changes induced by the repression of CAD activity produced midribs and stems more degradable than wild-type plants. CAD-RNAi plants grown in the field presented a wild-type phenotype and produced higher amounts of dry biomass. Cellulosic bioethanol assays revealed that CAD-RNAi biomass produced higher levels of ethanol compared to wild-type, making CAD a good target to improve both the nutritional and energetic values of maize lignocellulosic biomass.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During cell wall formation and degradation, it is possible to detect cellulose microfibrils assembled into thicker and thinner lamellar structures, respectively, following inverse parallel patterns. The aim of this study was to analyse such patterns of microfibril aggregation and cell wall delamination. The thickness of microfibrils and lamellae was measured on digital images of both growing and degrading cell walls viewed by means of transmission electron microscopy. To objectively detect, measure and classify microfibrils and lamellae into thickness classes, a method based on the application of computerized image analysis combined with graphical and statistical methods was developed. The method allowed common classes of microfibrils and lamellae in cell walls to be identified from different origins. During both the formation and degradation of cell walls, a preferential formation of structures with specific thickness was evidenced. The results obtained with the developed method allowed objective analysis of patterns of microfibril aggregation and evidenced a trend of doubling/halving lamellar structures, during cell wall formation/degradation in materials from different origin and which have undergone different treatments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tobacco plants expressing an antisense construct for a cationic peroxidase, which down-regulated lignin content at the presumed level of polymerisation, have been further analysed. T(1) plants were derived from a large-scale screen of T(0) mutant lines, previously published, which identified lines demonstrating consistent lignin down-regulation. Of these, line 1074 which had the most robust changes in lignin distribution through several generations was shown to have accompanying down-regulation of transcription of most lignin biosynthesis genes, except cinnamoyl-CoA reductase. The consistent 20% reduction in lignin was not accompanied by significant gross changes in vascular polysaccharide content and composition, despite a modest up-regulation of transcripts of genes involved in cellulose and hemicellulose synthesis. Morphologically, 1074 plants have under-developed xylem with both fibers and vessels having thin cell walls and limited secondary wall thickening with an abnormal S2 layer. However, they were not compromised in overall growth. Nevertheless, these and other lines showed improved potential industrial utility through a threefold increase in enzymic saccharification efficiency compared with wild-type (wt). Therefore, they were profiled for further un-intended effects of transgenesis that might compromise their value for industrial or biofuel processes. Other phenotypic changes included increased leaf thickness and bifurcation at the tip of the leaf. wt-Plants had smaller chloroplasts and higher stomatal numbers than mutants. Transgenic lines also showed a variable leaf pigment distribution with light-green areas that contained measurably less chlorophyll a, b, and carotenoids. Changes in epidermal pavement cells of mutant lines were also observed after exposure to various chemicals, while wt leaves retained their structural integrity. Despite these changes, the mutant plants grew and were viable indicating that lignification patterns can be manipulated considerably through targeting polymerisation without serious deleterious effects.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 1 knockout mutant in Arabidopsis thaliana was investigated for the consequences of lignin synthesis perturbation on the assembly of the cell walls. The mutant displayed a dwarf phenotype and a strong collapse of its xylem vessels corresponding to lower lignin content and a loss of lignin units of the noncondensed type. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the transformation considerably impaired the capacity of interfascicular fibers and vascular bundles to complete the assembly of cellulose microfibrils in the S(2) layer, the S(1) layer remaining unaltered. Such disorder in cellulose was correlated with X-ray diffraction showing altered organization. Semi-quantitative immunolabeling of lignins showed that the patterns of distribution were differentially affected in interfascicular fibers and vascular bundles, pointing to the importance of noncondensed lignin structures for the assembly of a coherent secondary wall. The use of laser capture microdissection combined with the microanalysis of lignins and polysaccharides allowed these polymers to be characterized into specific cell types. Wild-type A. thaliana displayed a two-fold higher syringyl to guaiacyl ratio in interfascicular fibers compared with vascular bundles, whereas this difference was less marked in the cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 1 knockout mutant.
New Phytologist 08/2009; 184(1):99-113. · 6.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The involvement of the maize ZmMYB42 R2R3-MYB factor in the phenylpropanoid pathway and cell wall structure and composition was investigated by overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana. ZmMYB42 down-regulates several genes of the lignin pathway and this effect reduces the lignin content in all lignified tissues. In addition, ZmMYB42 plants generate a lignin polymer with a decreased S to G ratio through the enrichment in H and G subunits and depletion in S subunits. This transcription factor also regulates other genes involved in the synthesis of sinapate esters and flavonoids. Furthermore, ZmMYB42 affects the cell wall structure and degradability, and its polysaccharide composition. Together, these results suggest that ZmMYB42 may be part of the regulatory network controlling the phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lignified cell walls are widely considered to be key innovations in the evolution of terrestrial plants from aquatic ancestors some 475 million years ago. Lignins, complex aromatic heteropolymers, stiffen and fortify secondary cell walls within xylem tissues, creating a dense matrix that binds cellulose microfibrils and crosslinks other wall components, thereby preventing the collapse of conductive vessels, lending biomechanical support to stems, and allowing plants to adopt an erect-growth habit in air. Although "lignin-like" compounds have been identified in primitive green algae, the presence of true lignins in nonvascular organisms, such as aquatic algae, has not been confirmed. Here, we report the discovery of secondary walls and lignin within cells of the intertidal red alga Calliarthron cheilosporioides. Until now, such developmentally specialized cell walls have been described only in vascular plants. The finding of secondary walls and lignin in red algae raises many questions about the convergent or deeply conserved evolutionary history of these traits, given that red algae and vascular plants probably diverged more than 1 billion years ago.
Current biology: CB 02/2009; 19(2):169-75. · 10.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 1 (CCR1, gene At1g15950) is the main CCR isoform implied in the constitutive lignification of Arabidopsis thaliana. In this work, we have identified and characterized two new knockout mutants for CCR1. Both have a dwarf phenotype and a delayed senescence. At complete maturity, their inflorescence stems display a 25-35% decreased lignin level, some alterations in lignin structure with a higher frequency of resistant interunit bonds and a higher content in cell wall-bound ferulic esters. Ferulic acid-coniferyl alcohol ether dimers were found for the first time in dicot cell walls and in similar levels in wild-type and mutant plants. The expression of CCR2, a CCR gene usually involved in plant defense, was increased in the mutants and could account for the biosynthesis of lignins in the CCR1-knockout plants. Mutant plantlets have three to four-times less sinapoyl malate (SM) than controls and accumulate some feruloyl malate. The same compositional changes occurred in the rosette leaves of greenhouse-grown plants. By contrast and relative to the control, their stems accumulated unusually high levels of both SM and feruloyl malate as well as more kaempferol glycosides. These findings suggest that, in their hypolignified stems, the mutant plants would avoid the feruloyl-CoA accumulation by its redirection to cell wall-bound ferulate esters, to feruloyl malate and to SM. The formation of feruloyl malate to an extent far exceeding the levels reported so far indicates that ferulic acid is a potential substrate for the enzymes involved in SM biosynthesis and emphasizes the remarkable plasticity of Arabidopsis phenylpropanoid metabolism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants growing in altered gravity conditions encounter changes in vascular development and cell wall deposition. The aim of this study was to investigate xylem anatomy and arrangement of cellulose microfibrils in vessel walls of different organs of soybean seedlings grown in Space.
Seeds germinated and seedlings grew for 5 d in Space during the Foton-M2 mission. The environmental conditions, other than gravity, of the ground control repeated those experienced in orbit. The seedlings developed in space were compared with those of the control test on the basis of numerous anatomical and ultrastructural parameters such as number of veins, size and shape of vessel lumens, thickness of cell walls and deposition of cellulose microfibrils.
Observations made with light, fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy, together with the quantification of the structural features through digital image analysis, showed that the alterations due to microgravity do not occur at the same level in the various organs of soybean seedlings. The modifications induced by microgravity or by the indirect effect of space-flight conditions, became conspicuous only in developing vessels at the ultrastructural level. The results suggested that the orientation of microfibrils and their assembly in developing vessels are perturbed by microgravity at the beginning of wall deposition, while they are still able to orient and arrange in thicker and ordered structures at later stages of secondary wall deposition.
The process of proper cell-wall building, although not prevented, is perturbed in Space at the early stage of development. This would explain the almost unaltered anatomy of mature structures, accompanied by a slower growth observed in seedlings grown in Space than on Earth.
Annals of Botany 05/2008; 101(5):661-9. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In view of tracing the fate of cellulose fine elements added to a suspension of cellulose fibers, a novel method for specific labeling of polysaccharides in a composite material was developed. The purpose was to visualize a given cellulose material within a cellulose mixture. The method consists of generating aldehyde groups in the chain by mild periodic acid oxidation followed by biotinylation of the carbonyls. Once added to the composite, the biotinylated molecules are labeled with streptavidin conjugated to a fluorescent probe for confocal microscopy, or streptavidin-gold for electron microscopy observations. In the present work, the fate of fresh fines (never-dried) and dead fines (dried) when they were added to a purified suspension of fibers was followed by observation of the labeling in confocal and electron microscopy. The differential mode of interaction of fresh fines and dead fines with the fibers was correlated to the mechanical characteristics measured on the corresponding papers. The versatility of the new labeling method and its possible generalization to other polysaccharides incorporated to a polysaccharide or nonpolysaccharide material should be of potential interest for the study of composite microstructure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolases (XTHs; EC 126.96.36.199 and/or EC 188.8.131.52) are enzymes involved in the modification of cell wall structure by cleaving and, often, also re-joining xyloglucan molecules in primary plant cell walls. Using a pool of antibodies raised against an enriched cell wall protein fraction, a new XTH cDNA in maize, ZmXTH1, has been isolated from a cDNA expression library obtained from the elongation zone of the maize root. The predicted protein has a putative N-terminal signal peptide and possesses the typical domains of this enzyme family, such as a catalytic domain that is homologous to that of Bacillus macerans beta-glucanase, a putative N-glycosylation motif, and four cysteine residues in the central and C terminal regions of the ZmXTH1 protein. Phylogenetic analysis of ZmXTH1 reveals that it belongs to subgroup 4, so far only reported from Poaceae monocot species. ZmXTH1 has been expressed in Pichia pastoris (a methylotrophic yeast) and the recombinant enzyme showed xyloglucan endotransglucosylase but not xyloglucan endohydrolase activity, representing the first enzyme belonging to subgroup 4 characterized in maize so far. Expression data indicate that ZmXTH1 is expressed in elongating tissues, modulated by culture conditions, and induced by gibberellins. Transient expression assays in onion cells reveal that ZmXTH1 is directed to the cell wall, although weakly bound. Finally, Arabidopsis thaliana plants expressing ZmXTH1 show slightly increased xyloglucan endohydrolase activity and alterations in the cell wall structure and composition.
Journal of Experimental Botany 02/2008; 59(4):875-89. · 5.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extractability and recovery of cellulose from cell walls influences many industrial processes and also the utilisation of biomass for energy purposes. The utility of genetic manipulation of lignin has proven potential for optimising such processes and is also advantageous for the environment. Hemicelluloses, particularly secondary wall xylans, also influence the extractability of cellulose. UDP-glucuronate decarboxylase produces UDP-xylose, the precursor for xylans and the effect of its down-regulation on cell wall structure and cellulose extractability in transgenic tobacco has been investigated. Since there are a number of potential UDP-glucuronate decarboxylase genes, a 490bp sequence of high similarity between members of the family, was chosen for general alteration of the expression of the gene family. Sense and antisense transgenic lines were analysed for enzyme activity using a modified and optimised electrophoretic assay, for enzyme levels by western blotting and for secondary cell wall composition. Some of the down-regulated antisense plants showed high glucose to xylose ratios in xylem walls due to less xylose-containing polymers, while arabinose and uronic acid contents, which could also have been affected by any change in UDP-xylose provision, were unchanged. The overall morphology and stem lignin content of the modified lines remained little changed compared with wild-type. However, there were some changes in vascular organisation and reduction of xylans in the secondary walls was confirmed by immunocytochemistry. Pulping analysis showed a decreased pulp yield and a higher Kappa number in some lines compared with controls, indicating that they were less delignified, although the level of residual alkali was reduced. Such traits probably indicate that lignin was less available for removal in a reduced background of xylans. However, the viscosity was higher in most antisense lines, meaning that the cellulose was less broken-down during the pulping process. This is one of the first studies of a directed manipulation of hemicellulose content on cellulose extractability and shows both positive and negative outcomes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR) catalyzes the penultimate step in monolignol biosynthesis. We show that downregulation of CCR in transgenic poplar (Populus tremula x Populus alba) was associated with up to 50% reduced lignin content and an orange-brown, often patchy, coloration of the outer xylem. Thioacidolysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), immunocytochemistry of lignin epitopes, and oligolignol profiling indicated that lignin was relatively more reduced in syringyl than in guaiacyl units. The cohesion of the walls was affected, particularly at sites that are generally richer in syringyl units in wild-type poplar. Ferulic acid was incorporated into the lignin via ether bonds, as evidenced independently by thioacidolysis and by NMR. A synthetic lignin incorporating ferulic acid had a red-brown coloration, suggesting that the xylem coloration was due to the presence of ferulic acid during lignification. Elevated ferulic acid levels were also observed in the form of esters. Transcript and metabolite profiling were used as comprehensive phenotyping tools to investigate how CCR downregulation impacted metabolism and the biosynthesis of other cell wall polymers. Both methods suggested reduced biosynthesis and increased breakdown or remodeling of noncellulosic cell wall polymers, which was further supported by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and wet chemistry analysis. The reduced levels of lignin and hemicellulose were associated with an increased proportion of cellulose. Furthermore, the transcript and metabolite profiling data pointed toward a stress response induced by the altered cell wall structure. Finally, chemical pulping of wood derived from 5-year-old, field-grown transgenic lines revealed improved pulping characteristics, but growth was affected in all transgenic lines tested.
The Plant Cell 12/2007; 19(11):3669-91. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In adaptation to their function the walls of plant cell display tissue-specific variations of composition according to their developmental stage, cell type and stress of various origin. It is therefore important to obtain a precise analytical data describing the cell wall composition with respect to these different factors. In the present work, laser capture microdissection (LCM) was used for isolating different tissues from the stem of Urtica dioica L. at a semi-preparative scale. The technique was associated for the first time to a one-pot sequential cell wall preparation and hydrolysis for the carbohydrate analysis of each cell type. The results demonstrate that the combination of LCM and micro-analytical methods can provide individual cell type composition and should improve our knowledge of the biochemical diversity of cell walls in plants. This approach will be of potential interest for the understanding of the effects of stress or genetic engineering on the composition of the cell walls.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The macromolecular organization of the secondary wall of the cells from tree xylem is in large part responsible for the mechanical and physiological properties of wood. Modeling secondary walls of wood is difficult because information about their macromolecular architecture at the ultrastructural scale is missing. Numerous microscopic studies have provided views of the lignocellulosic composite material, but nanoscale distribution of the polymers and their interaction in muro is still not clearly understood. The intimate macromolecular organization of cell walls is defined during their differentiation. It is at the stage of wall thickening corresponding to secondary wall development that the topochemical organization and the interactions between cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin are established. Using the conjunction of the high resolution of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and the specificity of immunological probes directed against the main cell wall polymers, we investigated the deposition of hemicelluloses and lignins from the early stage of cambium differentiation to the mature fiber and vessel walls in growing model plants of Arabidopsis thaliana and poplar. TEM examination of differentiating cells as well as various wood and wood –derived materials and genetic plant mutants brought multiple evidence of the lamellar sub-organization of the secondary walls. Immuno-gold labeling showed that two structurally different xylan types were deposited at different stages in the wall thickening. Similarly two different types of lignin molecules were shown to be differentially polymerized at different steps of the building of the wall, lignin molecules of the condensed type being first deposited at the earliest stage of secondary thickening before the non-condensed types. This process may be modified in response to environmental factors, as in tension wood. The spatio-temporal relationships occurring between hemicelluloses, lignin and cellulose microfibrils (CMFs) during the secondary wall development suggest that xylans with less substituted chains would be more directly interacting with CMFs than those with higher substitution patterns. It also suggests that lignin molecules of the non-condensed type have a function in bringing cohesion between the lamellae of CMFs. A model of wall assembly during secondary thickening is proposed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the context of our research on cell wall formation and maturation in flax (Linum usitatissimum L) bast fibers, we (1) confirmed the presence of lignin in bast fibers and (2) quantified and characterized the chemical nature of this lignin at two developmental stages. Histochemical methods (Weisner and Maüle reagents and KMnO(4)-staining) indicating the presence of lignin in bast fibers at the light and electron microscope levels were confirmed by chemical analyses (acetyl bromide). In general, the lignin content in flax bast fibers varied between 1.5% and 4.2% of the dry cell wall residues (CWRs) as compared to values varying between 23.7% and 31.4% in flax xylem tissues. Immunological and chemical analyses (thioacidolysis and nitrobenzene oxidation) indicated that both flax xylem- and bast fiber-lignins were rich in guaiacyl (G) units with S/G values inferior to 0.5. In bast fibers, the highly sensitive immunological probes allowed the detection of condensed guaiacyl-type (G) lignins in the middle lamella, cell wall junctions, and in the S1 layer of the secondary wall. In addition, lower quantities of mixed guaiacyl-syringyl (GS) lignins could be detected throughout the secondary cell wall. Chemical analyses suggested that flax bast-fiber lignin is more condensed than the corresponding xylem lignin. In addition, H units represented up to 25% of the monomers released from bast-fiber lignin as opposed to a value of 1% for the corresponding xylem tissue. Such an observation indicates that the structure of flax bast-fiber lignin is significantly different from that of the more typical 'woody plant lignin', thereby suggesting that flax bast fibers represent an interesting system for studying an unusual lignification process.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transmission electron microscopy was used to investi-gate the ultrastructure of recycled pulp fibers originating from a household collection plant and intended for the production of packaging paper. Three recovered paper grades and recycling processes, including pulping, screening, cleaning and refining, were assessed with emphasis on surface and internal fibrillation as well as xylan localization. Results showed a large heterogeneity with respect to fiber ultrastructure within and between the grades. Screening and cleaning steps had no detect-able effects, but refining clearly increased cell-wall delamination and surface fibrillation. Immunolabeling of xylans showed that they were distributed rather evenly across the cell walls. They were also present on fines. Two different mechanisms for fiber delamination and sur-face fibrillation were found, one which implies that inter-nal and external fibrillation take place simultaneously across the cell wall, and another which implies succes-sive peeling of layers or sub-layers from the outside towards the inside. It is suggested that recycled fibers of chemical pulp origin undergo the former mechanism and recycled fibers that contain lignin binding the cell wall matrix give rise to the latter peeling mechanism. Because several recycled fibers were severely delaminated and almost fractured, we suggest that to produce a good packaging paper, it is important that recycled pulp should contain a significant proportion of fibers with high intrin-sic strength.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The occurrence of lignin in the additional gelatinous (G-) layer that differentiates in the secondary wall of hardwoods during tension wood formation has long been debated. In the present work, the ultrastructural distribution of lignin in the cell walls of normal and tension wood fibres from poplar (Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marshall) was investigated by transmission electron microscopy using cryo-fixation-freeze-substitution in association with immunogold probes directed against typical structural motifs of lignin. The specificity of the immunological probes for condensed and non-condensed guaiacyl and syringyl interunit linkages of lignin, and their high sensitivity, allowed detection of lignin epitopes of definite chemical structures in the G-layer of tension wood fibres. Semi-quantitative distribution of the corresponding epitopes revealed the abundance of syringyl units in the G-layer. Predominating non-condensed lignin sub-structures appeared to be embedded in the crystalline cellulose matrix prevailing in the G-layer. The endwise mode of polymerization that is known to lead to these types of lignin structures appears consistent with such an organized cellulose environment. Immunochemical labelling provides the first visualization in planta of lignin structures within the G-layer of tension wood. The patterns of distribution of syringyl epitopes indicate that syringyl lignin is deposited more intensely in the later phase of fibre secondary wall assembly. The data also illustrate that syringyl lignin synthesis in tension wood fibres is under specific spatial and temporal regulation targeted differentially throughout cell wall layers.