Background: Plant cell walls form the interface between the cells and their environment. They perform different functions, such as protecting cells from biotic and abiotic stress and providing structural support during development. Maintenance of the functional integrity of cell walls during these different processes is a prerequisite that enables the walls to perform their particular functions. The available evidence suggests that an integrity maintenance mechanism exists in plants that is capable of both detecting wall integrity impairment caused by cell wall damage and initiating compensatory responses to maintain functional integrity. The responses involve 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), jasmonic acid, reactive oxygen species and calcium-based signal transduction cascades as well as the production of lignin and other cell wall components. Experimental evidence implicates clearly different signalling molecules, but knowledge regarding contributions of receptor-like kinases to this process is less clear. Different receptor-like kinase families have been considered as possible sensors for perception of cell wall damage; however, strong experimental evidence that provides insights into functioning exists for very few kinases.
Scope and conclusions: This review examines the involvement of cell wall integrity maintenance in different biological processes, defines what constitutes plant cell wall damage that impairs functional integrity, clarifies which stimulus perception and signal transduction mechanisms are required for integrity maintenance and assesses the available evidence regarding the functions of receptor-like kinases during cell wall integrity maintenance. The review concludes by discussing how the plant cell wall integrity maintenance mechanism could form an essential component of biotic stress responses and of plant development, functions that have not been fully recognized to date.
Keywords: RLK; Receptor-like kinase; cell wall signalling; plant cell wall integrity maintenance.
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