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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Endosidin20 Targets the Cellulose Synthase Catalytic Domain to Inhibit Cellulose Biosynthesis

Huang, Lei; Li, Xiaohui; Zhang, Weiwei; Ung, Nolan; Liu, Nana; Yin, Xianglin; Li, Yong; Mcewan, Robert E.; Dilkes, Brian; Dai, Mingji; Hicks, Glenn R.; Raikhel, Natasha V.; Staiger, Christopher J.; Zhang, Chunhua


The cellulose synthase inhibitor Endosidin20 is an excellent tool for manipulating cellulose synthesis in order to produce cellulose products with desired properties and to control weeds. Plant cellulose is synthesized by rosette-structured cellulose synthase (CESA) complexes (CSCs). Each CSC is composed of multiple subunits of CESAs representing three different isoforms. Individual CESA proteins contain conserved catalytic domains for catalyzing cellulose synthesis, other domains such as plant-conserved sequences, and class-specific regions that are thought to facilitate complex assembly and CSC trafficking. Because of the current lack of atomic-resolution structures for plant CSCs or CESAs, the molecular mechanism through which CESA catalyzes cellulose synthesis and whether its catalytic activity influences efficient CSC transport at the subcellular level remain unknown. Here, by performing chemical genetic analyses, biochemical assays, structural modeling, and molecular docking, we demonstrate that Endosidin20 (ES20) targets the catalytic site of CESA6 in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Chemical genetic analysis revealed important amino acids that potentially participate in the catalytic activity of plant CESA6, in addition to previously identified conserved motifs across kingdoms. Using high spatiotemporal resolution live cell imaging, we found that inhibiting the catalytic activity of CESA6 by ES20 treatment reduced the efficiency of CSC transport to the plasma membrane. Our results demonstrate that ES20 is a chemical inhibitor of CESA activity and trafficking that represents a powerful tool for studying cellulose synthesis in plants.

Published in

Plant Cell
2020, volume: 32, number: 7, pages: 2141-2157

Authors' information

Huang, Lei
Purdue Univ
Li, Xiaohui
Purdue Univ
Zhang, Weiwei
Purdue Univ
Ung, Nolan
Univ Calif Riverside
Liu, Nana
Purdue Univ
Yin, Xianglin
Purdue Univ
Li, Yong
Purdue Univ
Mcewan, Robert E.
Purdue Univ
Dilkes, Brian
Purdue Univ
Dai, Mingji
Purdue Univ
University of California, Riverside (UCR)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences
Raikhel, Natasha V.
Univ Calif Riverside
Staiger, Christopher J.
Purdue Univ
Zhang, Chunhua
Purdue Univ

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Publication Identifiers


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