Levels of plant cell wall structural organization revealed by atomic force microscopy

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Abstract

Summary

We used an atomic force microscope to image cell wall isolated from needles of Serbian spruce tree and that synthesized from cell wall components. We also observed the structure of lignin model polymer (DHP), as a best substitute for the natural lignin. A tendency of aggregate formation was observed in all samples. Cell wall was revealed as a laminated fibrous structure. General organization is similar in both isolated and synthesized cell wall samples, with dominating globular motifs arranged regularly as rods and forming cavities. The synthesized cell wall has a more regular structural organization than isolated cell wall. The dimensions of individual globular aggregates and pores differed between the two samples. DHP showed a similar, regular organization, with globular aggregates and holes. Globules and pores are smaller in size than the corresponding structures in both the isolated and synthesized cell walls. Such modular organization of cell walls may have a physiological role in response to the external mechanical stress caused to plant cells.

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