Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biological Sciences


The Cellulose Synthase (CESA) gene family of seed plants comprises six clades that encode isoforms with conserved expression patterns and distinct functions in cellulose synthesis complex (CSC) formation and primary and secondary cell wall synthesis. In mosses, which have rosette CSCs like those of seed plants but lack lignified secondary cell walls, the CESA gene family diversified independently and includes no members of the six functionally distinct seed plant clades. There are seven CESA isoforms encoded in the genome of the moss Physcomitrella patens. However, only PpCESA5 has been characterized functionally and little information is available on the expression of other PpCESA family members. We have profiled PpCESA expression through quantitative RT-PCR, analysis of promoter-reporter lines, and cluster analysis of public microarray data in an effort to identify expression and co-expression patterns that could help reveal the functions of PpCESA isoforms in protein complex formation and development of specific tissues. In contrast to the tissue-specific expression observed for seed plant CESAs, each of the PpCESAs was broadly expressed throughout most developing tissues. Although a few statistically significant differences in expression of PpCESAs were noted when some tissues and hormonal treatments were compared, no strong co-expression patterns were observed. Along with CESA phylogenies and lack of single PpCESA mutant phenotypes reported elsewhere, broad overlapping expression of the PpCESAs indicates a high degree of interchangeability and is consistent with a different pattern of functional specialization in the evolution of the seed plant and moss CESA families.