UK and Australian researchers discover how plants produce cellulose

June 9, 2016 |

In the UK, scientists led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Melbourne have identified new steps in the way plants produce cellulose, the component of plant cell walls that provides strength, and forms insoluble fiber in the human diet.

The findings could lead to improved production of cellulose and guide plant breeding for specific uses such as wood products and ethanol fuel. The newly discovered proteins are located in an intracellular compartment called the Golgi where proteins are sorted and modified.

“If the function of this protein family is abolished the cellulose synthesizing complexes become stuck in the Golgi and have problems reaching the cell surface where they normally are active” said the lead authors of the study, Drs. Yi Zhang (Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology) and Nino Nikolovski (University of Cambridge). “We therefore named the new proteins STELLO, which is Greek for to set in place, and deliver.”

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Category: Fuels

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