Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. Seth DeBolt


A uniform feature of all plant cells is the presence of a cell wall. The cell wall functions in facilitating directional expansion and is therefore important for cell shape and morphogenesis. All plant cell walls contain cellulose microfibrils embedded in a network of polysaccharides, lignin and protein. Cellulose is evolutionarily conserved and is made by all plants as well as other members of various taxonomic kingdoms. From a human perspective, the field of renewable energy has had an ever increasing interest in using the cell wall for production of renewable platform chemicals and fuels. However, the biosynthesis of these components is complex and the intricacies are still being solved. Herein, a molecular genetics approach was taken to advance our understanding of cell wall biosynthesis. Initial work proposes a C4 model grass Setaria viridis as well as for the crop plant Sorghum bicolor for genetic analysis. The machinery that is responsible for the biosynthesis the cell wall such as the cellulose synthase (CESA) enzymes were identified and the compositional analysis of the cell wall was conducted. In addition, the role of a cellulose synthase like D1 (CSLD1) gene was studied using reverse genetics. Finally, regulatory features called microRNAs that may intersect with lignin biosynthesis were explored through a series of molecular genetic analyses using Arabidopsis.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)