Pectin Controls the Chirality of Plant Cells

Adam Saffer
Seminar Date: 
Friday, September 8, 2017 - 8:30am
Prospect Street
New Haven, CT
Although specific organs in some plant species exhibit helical growth patterns of fixed or variable handedness, plant organs typically grow in a linear and non-chiral fashion. I am investigating the sources of chirality in plant growth and the factors that allow most plant tissues to grow non-helically. Plant cells are surrounded by cell walls composed primarily of polysaccharides, which control growth and cell expansion. I have found that decreasing the abundance of a specific cell wall pectic polysaccharide causes dramatic left-handed helical growth of petal epidermal cells, leading to left-handed twisted petals. These findings reveal a novel source of left-handed plant growth caused by changes in cell wall composition and implicate pectin in the control of plant cell patterning. In this talk, I will discuss ongoing work into how cell wall composition controls the chirality and helical growth of plant cells and organs.
Corey O'Hern
Seminar Announcement Brochure: 

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