Plant and Algal Cell Walls

Plant and Algal Cell Walls at NUI Galway spans research on photosynthetic eukaryotes at the cellular, organism and ecological levels (see also Plant Ecology and AlgalBioSciences). The primary focus is to characterise cell wall biochemistry and physiology in order to better understand the reciprocal impacts of the abiotic (e.g. mechanical stresses such as wind, presence of salts) and biotic (e.g. parasites, pathogens) environment on plant and algal cell walls. Cell wall characteristics of extant plants and algae additionally provide signatures which can give insight into evolution as well as influence current plant/algal competitiveness.        

Dr Zoë Popper

Dr Maria Tuohy 

Expertise and interests include:

  • characterising cell wall composition
  • plant and algal evolution
  • adaptive modification of cell walls
  • host-parasite (plant-plant) interactions from the cellular-molecular to community level
  • localisation of cell wall components
  • plant and algal (expansive cell) growth
  • optimising extraction of cell wall polysaccharides
  • cell wall physiology

Current projects include:

Characterisation of algal cell wall polysaccharides (SFI RFP; PhD student Sandra Raimundo)

Algal polysaccharides and their pre-biotic potential (FIRM Project, DAFM; lead by Prof Ross, UCC; MSc student Charlotte O’Callaghan) 

Research in Plant and Algal Cell Walls is supported by

Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Irish Research Council; National University of Ireland Galway.  

Selected recent publications (for full details see profiles of PIs):

Popper Z.A., Ralet M.-C., Domozych D.S. 2014. Plant and algal cell walls: diversity and functionality. Preface for Special Issue on Plant Cell Walls. Annals of Botany 114: 1043–1048 doi:10.1093/aob/mcu21

Pielach A, Leroux O, Domozych DS, Knox JP, Popper ZA. 2014. Arabinogalactan protein-rich cell walls, paramural deposits and ergastic globules define the hyaline bodies of Rhinanthoid Orobanchaceae haustoria. Annals of Botany 114: 1359–1373 doi.10.1093/aob/mcu121

Eeckhout S, Leroux O, Willats WGT, Popper ZA, Viane RLL. 2014. Comparative glycan profiling of Ceratopteris richardii ‘C-Fern’ gametophytes and sporophytes links cell-wall composition to functional specialization. Annals of Botany 114: 1295–1307 doi: 10.1093/aob/mcu039

Domozych DS, Sørensen I, Popper ZA, Ochs J, Andreas A, Fangel JU, Pielach A, Sacks C, Brechka H, Willats WGT, Rose JKC. 2014. Pectin metabolism and assembly in the cell wall of the charophyte green alga Penium margaritaceum. Plant Physiol. 165: 105–118. doi:

Domozych DS, Sørensen I, Sacks C, Brechka H, Andreas A, Fangel JU, Rose JKC, Willats WGT, Popper ZA. 2014. Disruption of the microtubule network alters cellulose deposition and causes major changes in pectin distribution in the cell wall of the green alga, Penium margaritaceum. Journal of Experimental Botany 65: 465–479. doi:10.1093/jxb/ert390.

Leroux O, Eeckhout S, Viane RLL, Popper ZA. 2013. Ceratopteris richardii (C-Fern): a model for investigating adaptive modification of vascular plant cell walls. Front. Plant Sci. 4: 367. doi. 10.3389/fpls.2013.00367

Leroux O, Leroux F, Mastroberti AA, Santos-Silva F, Van Loo D, Bagniewska-Zadworna A, Van Hoorebeke L, Bals S, Popper ZA, Marianth JEA. 2013. Heterogeneity of silica and glycan epitope distribution in epidermal idioblast cell walls in Adiantum raddianum laminae. Planta 237: 1453–1464. doi 10.1007/s00425-013-1856-6

Fangel JU, Ulvskov P, Knox JP, Mikkelsen MD, Harholt J, Popper ZA, Willats WG. 2012. Cell wall evolution and diversity. Front. Plant Sci. 3: 152. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00152

Stengel DB, Connan S, Popper ZA. 2011. Algal chemodiversity and bioactivity: sources of natural variability and implications for commercial applications. Biotechnology Advances 29: 483–501. doi.10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.05.016

Popper ZA, Michel G, Hervé C, Domozych DS, Willats WGT, Tuohy MG, Kloareg B, Stengel DB. 2011. Evolution and diversity of plant cell walls: from algae to flowering plants. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 62: 567–590. Volume publication date June 2011, online April 29 2011. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042110-103809

Popper ZA and Tuohy MG. 2010. Beyond the green: understanding the evolutionary puzzle of plant and algal cell walls (invited update). Plant Physiol 153: 373–383. doi:10.1104/pp.110.158055

Pattathil S, Avci U, Baldwin D, Swennes AG, McGill JA, Popper Z, Bootten T, Albert A, Davis RH, Chenareddy C, Dong R, O’Shea B, Rossi R, Leoff C, Freshour G, Narra R, O’Neill MA, York WS, Hahn MG. 2010. A comprehensive toolkit of plant cell wall glycan-directed monoclonal antibodies. Plant Physiol 153: 514–525. [Faculty of 1000 Biology: impact factor 3; ‘recommended’]. doi:10.1104/pp.109.151985

Ronse AC, Popper ZA, Preston JC, Watson MF. 2010. Taxonomic revision of European Apium L. s.l.: Helosciadium W.D.J. Koch restored. Plant Syst Evol 287:1–17. doi: 10.1007/s00606-010-0284-3

Popper ZA. 2008. Evolution and diversity of green plant cell walls (invited review). Current Opinion in Plant Biology 11: 286–292. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.02.012

Popper ZA, Fry SC. 2008. Xyloglucan-pectin linkages are formed intra-protoplasmically, contribute to wall-assembly, and remain stable in the cell wall. Planta 227: 781–794. [Faculty of 1000 Biology: evaluations for Popper ZA & Fry SC Planta 2007 Nov 7:; impact factor 6; ‘must read’]. doi: 10.1007/s00425-007-0656-2

Popper ZA. 2006. The Cell Walls of Pteridophytes and other green plants (invited review). The Fern Gazette 17: 315–332. ISSN 0308-0838.

Popper ZA, Fry SC. 2005. Widespread occurrence of a covalent linkage between xyloglucan and acidic polysaccharides in suspension-cultured angiosperm cells. Annals of Botany 96: 91–99. [Faculty of 1000 Biology: evaluations for Popper ZA & Fry SC Ann Bot (Lond) 2005 Jul 96 (1):91-9 evaluation; impact factor 3]. Cover page. doi:10.1093/aob/mci153

Popper ZA, Fry SC. 2004. Primary Cell Wall Composition of Pteridophytes and Spermatophytes. New Phytologist 164: 165–174. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01146.x

Popper ZA, Sadler IH, Fry SC. 2004. 3-O-Methylrhamnose in lower land plant primary cell walls. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 32: 279–289. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2003.07.004

Popper ZA, Sadler IH, Fry SC. 2003. a-d-Glucuronosyl-(1®3)-l-galactose, an unusual disaccharide from polysaccharides of the hornwort Anthoceros caucasicus. Phytochemistry 64: 325–335. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(03)00330-3

Popper ZA, Fry SC. 2003. Primary cell wall composition of bryophytes and Charophytes. Annals of Botany 91: 1–12. Cover page. doi:10.1093/aob/mcg013

Popper ZA, Sadler IH, Fry SC. 2001. 3-O-Methyl-d-galactose residues in lycophyte primary cell walls. Phytochemistry 57: 711–719.doi. S0031-9422(01)00140-6