Identifying Cell Wall Biosynthesis genes using a simple model
The plant cell wall is complex consisting of cellulosic fibres embedded into a matrix of pectins and hemicelluloses.
Whilst a tremendous amount of data was generated using mutant collections, not all cell wall mutants are viable and not in all cases is it possible to directly determine changes in the cell wall composition without a fractionation of the cell wall.
Interestingly Arabidopsis thaliana seeds extrude a substance called mucilage upon contact with water. As it turns out a major component of the mucilage is rhamnogalacturonan-I which is also one of the major components in cell wall pectin. However, the mucilage is extremely easy to extract and Arabidopsis seeds are perfectly viable with relatively little mucilage or in mutants and/or ecotypes not extruding mucilage.