Multiple evolutionary mechanisms shape plant and algal cell wall composition
Zoë A. Popper, National University, Ireland
22 Jul, 2010
11:00 am to 12:00 pm
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Plant Science Seminar
Title: Multiple evolutionary mechanisms shape plant and algal cell wall composition
Speaker: Zoë A. Popper
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
Host: Susana S. Neves, Plant Cell Biotechnology Laboratory
Abstract: Components of plant and algal cell walls are involved in the control of cell growth, cell-cell communication and in processes relating to multicellularity and development. Some wall constituents are also of high commercial value because they are important as; textiles e.g. cotton; for human and animal health and nutrition; and as a source of fuel and timber. To some extent the multi-various uses of cell wall components is dependant on the wide variety of wall constituents including; cellulose, hemicelluloses (such as xyloglucan, xylan, mixed-linkage glucan, mannan), and pectins (such as rhamnogalacturonan I, rhamnogalacturonan II, homogalacturonan).
Whilst a dynamic carbon-rich cell wall is a shared characteristic of plant and algal cell walls it is becoming increasingly evident that evolution has had a profound influence on wall composition. This has lead to cell walls of different extant algal and plant groups having qualitatively and qualitatively different wall compositions. In an effort to better characterise wall diversity and understand wall evolution we are currently investigating the composition of cell walls from a range of algal and plant groups. We have found that different wall components appear to have a different evolutionary history. For example some wall components such as xyloglucan appear to have evolved within the land plant lineage whereas other wall components such as arabinogalactan proteins appear to be present in the walls of all algal and plant groups. Increased understanding of extant cell walls could facilitate attempts to manipulate plant growth either for increased biomass or reduced growth of weed species and may also enable diversification of current cell wall uses.
Short biography: Zoë A. Popper
2008- present. Lecturer in Plant Science. School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway.
2006-2008. Fixed-term Lecturer. Department of Botany, National University of Ireland, Galway.
2004-2005. Postdoctoral researcher. The Complex Carbohydrate Research Centre, University of Georgia, Athens, USA.
2001-2004. Postdoctoral researcher. Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.
1997-2001. PhD. University of Edinburgh, UK. PhD thesis: “Evolution and Diversity of the Primary Cell Wall in Green Plants”
1993-1997. BSc. Biological Sciences - Honours Plant Science. University of Edinburgh, UK.