Pectins: cross-linking and cell adhesion in developing plants

Briggs, Susan Pamela Hamilton (2004) Pectins: cross-linking and cell adhesion in developing plants. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A great deal of the remarkable properties of plants lie in the complex nature of adhesion of cells which is unparalleled in modern materials science. The exact nature of the polymer network that results in this is still to be completely understood. A basic view of the plant cell wall has a cellulose microfibrillar network embedded in a highly crosslinked pectin matrix. It is suspected that it is these crosslinks that give rise to the adhesion between cells and it is the aim of this thesis to examine the molecular features responsible for inter cellular adhesion in plants and how these might vary within the cell and between cells. A variety of cell separation techniques were utilised including the development of a multi-step pectin extraction procedure and investigation into the use of enzymes to break specific linkages in order to effect cell separation. These experiments confirmed that crosslinks between pectic polymers were responsible for cell adhesion as breaking them resulted in separation. These experiments also showed that the mechanism responsible for cell adhesion differed between faces of the individual cell and also between different types of cell. The existence and potential role in cell adhesion for non-methyl esters was also investigated. From this work it was discovered that non-methyl intermolecular esters existed. Studies that combined enzyme treatment with tensile strength testing equipment at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich endeavoured to test the strength of cell-cell adhesion and these discovered that this varied according to the structure of the polysaccharides in the wall.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Supervisor's Name: Jarvis, Dr Mike
Date of Award: 2004
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2004-6901
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2015 11:21
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2015 11:26

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