How the deposition of cellulose microfibrils builds cell wall architecture

Trends Plant Sci. 2000 Jan;5(1):35-40. doi: 10.1016/s1360-1385(99)01507-1.


Cell walls, the extracytoplasmic matrices of plant cells, consist of an ordered array of cellulose microfibrils embedded in a matrix of polysaccharides and glycoproteins. This construction is reminiscent of steel rods in reinforced concrete. How a cell organizes these ordered textures around itself, creating its own desirable environment, is a fascinating question. We believe that nature adopted an economical solution to this design problem: it exploits the geometrical constraints imposed by the shape of the cell and the limited space in which microfibrils are deposited, enabling the wall textures essentially to 'build themselves'. This does not imply that the cell cannot control its wall texture. On the contrary, the cell has ample regulatory mechanisms to control wall texture formation by controlling the insertion of synthases and the distance between individual microfibrils within a wall lamella.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / metabolism*


  • Cellulose