Heterogeneity and glycan masking of cell wall microstructures in the stems of Miscanthus x giganteus, and its parents M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus

J. Xue, Maurice Bosch, J. P. Knox

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Plant cell walls, being repositories of fixed carbon, are important sources of biomass and renewable energy. Miscanthus species are fast growing grasses with a high biomass yield and they have been identified as potential bioenergy crops. Miscanthus x giganteus is the sterile hybrid between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus, with a faster and taller growth than its parents. In this study, the occurrence of cell wall polysaccharides in stems of Miscanthus species has been determined using fluorescence imaging with sets of cell wall directed monoclonal antibodies. Heteroxylan and mixed linkage-glucan (MLG) epitopes are abundant in stem cell walls of Miscanthus species, but their distributions are different in relation to the interfascicular parenchyma and these epitopes also display different developmental dynamics. Detection of pectic homogalacturonan (HG) epitopes was often restricted to intercellular spaces of parenchyma regions and, notably, the high methyl ester LM20 HG epitope was specifically abundant in the pith parenchyma cell walls of M. x giganteus. Some cell wall probes cannot access their target glycan epitopes because of masking by other polysaccharides. In the case of Miscanthus stems, masking of xyloglucan by heteroxylan and masking of pectic galactan by heteroxylan and MLG was detected in certain cell wall regions. Knowledge of tissue level heterogeneity of polysaccharide distributions and molecular architectures in Miscanthus cell wall structures will be important for both understanding growth mechanisms and also for the development of potential strategies for the efficient deconstruction of Miscanthus biomass.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere82114
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2013


  • Cell Wall/chemistry
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Probes
  • Plant Stems/chemistry
  • Poaceae/chemistry
  • Polysaccharides/analysis
  • Species Specificity


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