This article briefly reviews recent advances in nano-scale and micro-scale assessments of primary cell wall structure, mechanical behaviors and expansive growth. Cellulose microfibrils have hydrophobic and hydrophilic faces which may selectively bind different matrix polysaccharides and adjacent microfibrils. These distinctive binding interactions may guide partially aligned cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls to form a planar, load-bearing network within each lamella of polylamellate walls. Consideration of expansive growth of cross-lamellate walls leads to a surprising inference: side-by-side sliding of microfibrils may be a key rate-limiting physical step, potentially targeted by specific wall loosening agents. Atomic force microscopy shows different patterns of microfibril movement during force-driven extension versus enzymatic loosening. Consequently, simulations of cell growth as elastic deformation of isotropic cell walls may need to be augmented to incorporate the distinctive behavior of growing cell walls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science