Cellulose synthesis: a complex complex

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Jun;11(3):252-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.03.007. Epub 2008 May 14.


Cellulose is the world's most abundant biopolymer and a key structural component of the plant cell wall. Cellulose is comprised of hydrogen-bonded beta-1,4-linked glucan chains that are synthesized at the plasma membrane by large cellulose synthase (CESA) complexes. Recent advances in visualization of fluorescently labelled complexes have facilitated exploration of regulatory modes of cellulose production. For example, several herbicides, such as isoxaben and 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile that inhibit cellulose production appear to affect different aspects of synthesis. Dual-labelling of cytoskeletal components and CESAs has revealed dynamic feedback regulation between cellulose synthesis and microtubule orientation and organization. In addition, fluorescently tagged CESA2 subunits may substitute for another subunit, CESA6, which suggests both plasticity and specificity for one of the components of the CESA complex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cellulose / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Cellulose
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • cellulose synthase