The Use of Arabidopsis Genetics to Analyze Synthesis, Structure, and Function of the Plant Cell Wall
The cell walls of higher plants form a contiguous scaffold surrounding the individual protoplasts within the plant body. In addition to providing mechanical support for the cells, plant cell walls have a pivotal role in growth and development, in cell-cell recognition and interaction, and in defense responses (see Carpita and Gibeaut, 1993 for a recent review). In contrast to animal systems, cell migrations do not contribute to plant development; instead, the ordered formation of plant tissues and organs relies solely on the combination of two processes: The division of cells in specific planes, and the subsequent three-dimensional expansion of the cells in specific dimensions. This latter process of extension growth is primarily a function of the mechanical properties of the walls, and the synthesis of new cell wall material. Since all cells within a growing tissue or organ are held together via their middle lamella, extension growth needs to be tightly coordinated between the various cell types in growing parts of the plant body. Since different cell types within a growth zone are not only distinguished by their shape and size, but also by the thickness of their walls, a very complex network of regulatory mechanisms is required to ensure the ordered formation of plant tissues and organs.
KeywordsCell Wall Plant Cell Wall Cellulose Microfibril Cell Wall Polysaccharide Cell Wall Synthesis
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