Cell walls and the developmental anatomy of the Brachypodium distachyon stem internode

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 21;8(11):e80640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080640. eCollection 2013.


While many aspects of plant cell wall polymer structure are known, their spatial and temporal distribution within the stem are not well understood. Here, we studied vascular system and fiber development, which has implication for both biofuel feedstock conversion efficiency and crop yield. The subject of this study, Brachypodium distachyon, has emerged as a grass model for food and energy crop research. Here, we conducted our investigation using B. distachyon by applying various histological approaches and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to the stem internode from three key developmental stages. While vascular bundle size and number did not change over time, the size of the interfascicular region increased dramatically, as did cell wall thickness. We also describe internal stem internode anatomy and demonstrate that lignin deposition continues after crystalline cellulose and xylan accumulation ceases. The vascular bundle anatomy of B. distachyon appears to be highly similar to domesticated grasses. While the arrangement of bundles within the stem is highly variable across grasses, B. distachyon appears to be a suitable model for the rind of large C4 grass crops. A better understanding of growth and various anatomical and cell wall features of B. distachyon will further our understanding of plant biomass accumulation processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brachypodium / growth & development*
  • Cell Wall / physiology*
  • Plant Stems / growth & development*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared

Grant support

This work was supported by Office of Science (BER) Department of Energy Grants DE-FG02-08ER64700DE and DE-SC0006621. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.