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The Orchid Velamen: A model system for studying patterned secondary cell wall development?

Idris, N.A., Aleamotuʻa, M., McCurdy, D.W. and Collings, D.A. (2021) The Orchid Velamen: A model system for studying patterned secondary cell wall development? Plants, 10 (7). Art. 1358.

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Understanding the mechanisms through which plants generate secondary cell walls is of more than academic interest: the physical properties of plant-derived materials, including timber and textiles, all depend upon secondary wall cellulose organization. Processes controlling cellulose in the secondary cell wall and their reliance on microtubules have been documented in recent decades, but this understanding is complicated, as secondary walls normally form in the plant’s interior where live cell imaging is more difficult. We investigated secondary wall formation in the orchid velamen, a multicellular epidermal layer found around orchid roots that consists of dead cells with lignified secondary cell walls. The patterns of cell wall ridges that form within the velamen vary between different orchid species, but immunolabelling demonstrated that wall deposition is controlled by microtubules. As these patterning events occur at the outer surface of the root, and as orchids are adaptable for tissue culture and genetic manipulation, we conclude that the orchid root velamen may indeed be a suitable model system for studying the organization of the plant cell wall. Notably, roots of the commonly grown orchid Laelia anceps appear ideally suited for developing this research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
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