A primary plant cell wall network was computationally modeled using the finite element approach to study the hypothesis of hemicellulose (HC) tethering with the cellulose microfibrils (CMFs) as one of the major load-bearing mechanisms of the growing cell wall. A computational primary cell wall network fragment (10 × 10 μm) comprising typical compositions and properties of CMFs and HC was modeled with well-aligned CMFs. The tethering of HC to CMFs is modeled in accordance with the strength of the hydrogen bonding by implementing a specific load-bearing connection (i.e. the joint element). The introduction of the CMF-HC interaction to the computational cell wall network model is a key to the quantitative examination of the mechanical consequences of cell wall structure models, including the tethering HC model. When the cell wall network models with and without joint elements were compared, the hydrogen bond exhibited a significant contribution to the overall stiffness of the cell wall network fragment. When the cell wall network model was stretched 1% in the transverse direction, the tethering of CMFHC via hydrogen bonds was not strong enough to maintain its integrity. When the cell wall network model was stretched 1% in the longitudinal direction, the tethering provided comparable strength to maintain its integrity. This substantial anisotropy suggests that the HC tethering with hydrogen bonds alone does not manifest sufficient energy to maintain the integrity of the cell wall during its growth (i.e. other mechanisms are present to ensure the cell wall shape).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science