WoW PhD candidate working with Lacey Samuels, Botany Department, and Shawn Mansfield, Faculty of Forestry.
While the hemicellulose xylan is a major component of plant secondary cell walls, the enzymes involved in its synthesis have only recently been discovered, and xylan synthesis is not fully understood. I will use high resolution microscopy to look at synthesis in the Golgi of xylan by glycosyltransferases like IRX10 in an Arabidopsis line transformed with an inducible ‘switch’ that allows me to turn on the master transcription factor, VND7. One of the things turned on with VND7 induction is secondary cell wall, and xylan, synthesis. By localizing both the biosynthetic enzyme(s) and their products within the Golgi we hope to test the cisternal maturation model, which predicts a maturation of products within Golgi stacks as they move from cis to trans, while glycosyltransferases are recycled ‘backward’ to earlier stacks. This component of the cisternal maturation model has never been directly tested, and the outcome of this research has implications for cell biology in all eukaryotes.