Contributions of the mechanical properties of major structural polysaccharides to the stiffness of a cell wall network model

Hojae Yi, Virendra M. Puri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Premise of the study: The molecular mechanisms regulating the expansive growth of the plant cell wall have yet to be fully understood. The recent development of a computational cell wall model allows quantitative examinations of hypothesized cell wall loosening mechanisms. Methods: Computational cell wall network (CWN) models were generated using cellulose microfibrils (CMFs), hemicelluloses (HCs), and their interactions (CMF-HC). For each component, a range of stiffness values, representing various situations hypothesized as potential cell-wall-loosening mechanisms, were used in the calculation of the overall stiffness of the computational CWN model. Thus, a critical mechanism of the loosening of the primary cell wall was investigated using a computational approach by modeling the molecular structure. Key results: The increase in the stiffness equivalent of the CMF-HC interaction results in an increase in the Young's modulus of the CWN. In the major growth direction, the CWN stiffness is most sensitive to the CMF-HC interaction (75%). HC stiffness contributes moderately (24%) to the change in the CWN stiffness, whereas the CMF contribution is marginal (1%). Minor growth direction exhibited a similar trend except that the contributions of CMFs and HCs are higher than for the major growth direction. Conclusions: The stiffness of the CMF-HC interaction is the most critical mechanical component in altering stiffness of the CWN model, which supports the hypothesized mechanism of expansin'S role in efficient loosening of the plant cell wall by disrupting HC binding to CMFs. The comparison to experiments suggests additional load-bearing mechanisms in CMF-HC interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-254
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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