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Pea border cell maturation and release involve complex cell wall structural dynamics

Lookup NU author(s): Professor William WillatsORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Society of Plant Biologists, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2017 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved. The adhesion of plant cells is vital for support and protection of the plant body and is maintained by a variety of molecular associations between cell wall components. In some specialized cases, though, plant cells are programmed to detach, and root cap-derived border cells are examples of this. Border cells (in some species known as border-like cells) provide an expendable barrier between roots and the environment. Their maturation and release is an important but poorly characterized cell separation event. To gain a deeper insight into the complex cellular dynamics underlying this process, we undertook a systematic, detailed analysis of pea (Pisum sativum) root tip cell walls. Our study included immunocarbohydrate microarray profiling, monosaccharide composition determination, Fourier-transformed infrared microspectroscopy, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR of cell wall biosynthetic genes, analysis of hydrolytic activities, transmission electron microscopy, and immunolocalization of cell wall components. Using this integrated glycobiology approach, we identified multiple novel modes of cell wall structural and compositional rearrangement during root cap growth and the release of border cells. Our findings provide a new level of detail about border cell maturation and enable us to develop a model of the separation process. We propose that loss of adhesion by the dissolution of homogalacturonan in the middle lamellae is augmented by an active biophysical process of cell curvature driven by the polarized distribution of xyloglucan and extensin epitopes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mravec J, Guo X, Hansen AR, Schuckel J, Kracun SK, Mikkelsen MD, Mouille G, Johansen IE, Ulvskov P, Domozych DS, Willats WGT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Plant Physiology

Year: 2017

Volume: 174

Issue: 2

Pages: 1051-1066

Online publication date: 05/06/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 21/07/2017

ISSN (print): 0032-0889

ISSN (electronic): 1532-2548

Publisher: American Society of Plant Biologists


DOI: 10.1104/pp.16.00097


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Funder referenceFunder name
263916Commission of the European Communities
NSF-DBI 0922805
NSF-MCB 0919925