The present invention relates to beta expansin polypeptides, nucleotide sequences encoding the same and regulatory elements and their use in altering cell wall structure in plants. Nucleic acid constructs comprising a beta expansin sequence operably linked to a promoter, or other regulatory sequence are disclosed as well as vectors, plant cells, plants, and transformed seeds containing such constructs are provided. Methods for the use of such constructs in repressing or inducing expression of a beta expansin sequences in a plant are also provided as well as methods for harvesting transgenic expansin proteins. In addition, methods are provided for inhibiting or improving cell wall structure in plants by repression or induction of expansin sequences in plants.
 This research was sponsored by the US Department of Energy grant DE-FG02-84ER13179 and the US Department of Agriculture grant PENR-9601307. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.