Viane Pteridology Lab

Morphology, anatomy and cytology of ferns

Cell wall diversity and evolution

Celery Collenchyma


Plant cell walls are crucial cell components and determine modes of development, specifically cell division, cell enlargement, cell adhesion, and cell differentiation processes. They serve to maintain the shape of plant cells thereby greatly contributing to the structural integrity and morphology of the entire plant. They are dynamic and hence constantly remodelled and reconstructed during evolution and development and in response to environmental stress or pathogen attacks. Cell walls are also important for human nutrition and health, as well as being of significant economic importance serving as textile fibers, industrial raw material, and as a source of renewable biomass for energy production. In all of these cases, the features which make them suitable for their specific applications directly result from cell wall properties and architecture. Any efforts made towards the understanding of cell wall design principles and dynamics will aid prediction of how cell wall properties may be modified for their improved utilization and through the impact of altered environments.

We are currently studying collenchyma cell walls of Apium graveolens (in collaboration with Dr. Zoƫ Popper, NUI Galway, Ireland). Detailed analysis of the chemical composition of collenchyma cell walls will provide increased insight into the structural-functional relationships of cell wall architectures, especially when its biomechanical properties are the subject of concurrent investigations.

Anti-homogalacturonan labelling of a section through a celery petiole

Transmission electron microscopy of celery collenchyma (low magnification [1000x] to high magnification [100.000x])