The majority of plant photosynthetic products are stored in the secondary cell wall of sclerenchyma cells, which are primarily existed in vascular tissues. The secondary cell wall is comprised of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, which constitute the source material for fiber, chemical and bioenergy production. Our lab is interested in revealing the mechanism of secondary cell wall formation and secondary vascular cell differentiation by biochemical, proteomic, genetic and genomic approaches. we utilize poplar ,Arabidopsis and rice as research material.
Cellulose is the most abundant component in cell wall providing tenacity and strength for plant. The cellulose molecule is a linear â-（1,4）glucan polymer with a relatively simple structure. It is believed that cellulose is synthesized by cellulose synthase complexs(CSCs) consisting of multiple CesA proteins. However, the composition and structure of CSC is still unclear. So far, more than one type of CSC was found to be involved in the cellulose biosynthesis of secondary cell walls in poplar, but the underlying mechanisms of how individual CSC function in secondary cell wall remain to be elucidated. Utilization of the cell wall material, a renewable resource for lignocellulosic industry is a promising energy strategy in the future.
Lignin is a hydrophobic biopolymer in the secondary cell wall, implanting rigidity to plants, enabling long distance water transport and protecting plant from pathogen infection and various environmental stresses. Lignin is polymerized from monolignols in secondary cell wall. Understanding of lignin biosynthesis and modification of lignin deposition would be significant in improving utilization of the cell wall material, a renewable resource for lignocellulosis industry.
Secondary vascular tissues derive from vascular cabium, which is a secondary meristem that divides inward to produce secondary xylem tissues and outwards to develop into secondary phloem tissue. Secondary vascular tissue of tree species features several types of specialized cells including fiber cells, vessel and sieve elements, which are formed during the differention process after cambium cell division. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the developmental processes of vascular tissue is another research goal of our lab.