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Biological Sciences


Cellulose microfibrils are synthesized by membrane‐embedded cellulose synthesis complexes (CSCs), currently modeled as hexamers of cellulose synthase (CESA) trimers. The three paralogous CESAs involved in secondary cell wall (SCW) cellulose biosynthesis in Arabidopsis (CESA4, CESA7, CESA8) are similar, but nonredundant, with all three isoforms required for assembly and function of the CSC. The molecular basis of protein–protein recognition among the isoforms is not well understood. To investigate the locations of the interfaces that are responsible for isoform recognition, we swapped three domains between the Arabidopsis CESAs required for SCW synthesis (CESA4, CESA7, and CESA8): N‐terminus, central domain containing the catalytic core, and C‐terminus. Chimeric genes with all pairwise permutations of the domains were tested for in vivo functionality within knockout mutant backgrounds of cesa4, cesa7, and cesa8. Immunoblotting with isoform‐specific antibodies confirmed the anticipated protein expression in transgenic plants. The percent recovery of stem height and crystalline cellulose content was assayed, as compared to wild type, the mutant background lines, and other controls. Retention of the native central domain was sufficient for CESA8 chimeras to function, with neither its N‐terminal nor C‐terminal domains required. The C‐terminal domain is required for class‐specific function of CESA4 and CESA7, and CESA7 also requires its own N‐terminus. Across all isoforms, the results indicate that the central domain, as well as the N‐ and C‐terminal regions, contributes to class‐specific function variously in Arabidopsis CESA4, CESA7, and CESA8.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.