Despite its critical importance, there is a major gap in our understanding of cell wall biosynthesis: how are cell wall components that are made inside the cell exported to the outside of the cell to build a functional wall? The long-term goal of the Samuels’ lab research is to understand how plant cells secrete their cell walls, both polysaccharides and specialized cell wall components such as lipids and lignin. We use cryo-fixation, antibody probes, molecular biology and advanced microscopy techniques to examine the secretory apparatus of plant cells. Since we recently discovered the ABC transporters that are required for export of cuticular wax molecules to the cell surface, we now want to fit into them into the bigger picture of lipid export across the cell wall to the plant cuticle. We are currently exploring the delivery of wax components to the transporters, transporter interactions, and lipid export by lipid transfer proteins (LTPs), while in developing wood, we study both the polysaccharides secreted by the Golgi and the lignin precursors secreted by still unknown mechanisms.
Personal website: http://samuelslab.blogspot.com/