Plant cuticles shine: advances in wax biosynthesis and export

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2009 Dec;12(6):721-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2009.09.009. Epub 2009 Oct 26.


The plant cuticle is an extracellular lipid structure deposited over the aerial surfaces of land plants, which seals the shoot and protects it from biotic and abiotic stresses. It is composed of cutin polymer matrix and waxes, produced and secreted by epidermal cells. The use of forward and reverse genetic approaches in Arabidopsis has led to the identification of enzymes involved in fatty acid elongation and biosynthesis of wax components, as well as transporters required for lipid delivery to the cuticle. However, major questions concerning alkane formation, intracellular and extracellular wax transport, regulation of wax deposition, and assembly of cuticular components into a functional cuticle remain to be resolved.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Fatty Acid Elongases
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Plant Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Waxes / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Waxes
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Fatty Acid Elongases