New findings challenge the traditional view of the plant cell wall as passive structural barrier to invasion by fungal microorganisms. A surveillance system for cell wall integrity appears to sense perturbation of the cell wall structure upon fungal attack and is interconnected with known plant defence signalling pathways. Biotrophic fungi might manipulate this surveillance system for the establishment of biotrophy. The attempts of fungi to invade also induce a sub-cellular polarisation in attacked cells, which activates an ancient vesicle-associated resistance response that possibly enables the focal transport of regulatory cargo and the secretion of toxic cargo. The underlying resistance machinery might have been subverted by biotrophic fungi for pathogenesis.