Plant resistance to pathogens relies on a complex network of constitutive and inducible defensive barriers. The plant cell wall is one of the barriers that pathogens need to overcome to successfully colonize plant tissues. The traditional view of the plant cell wall as a passive barrier has evolved to a concept that considers the wall as a dynamic structure that regulates both constitutive and inducible defense mechanisms, and as a source of signaling molecules that trigger immune responses. The secondary cell walls of plants also represent a carbon-neutral feedstock (lignocellulosic biomass) for the production of biofuels and biomaterials. Therefore, engineering plants with improved secondary cell wall characteristics is an interesting strategy to ease the processing of lignocellulosic biomass in the biorefinery. However, modification of the integrity of the cell wall by impairment of proteins required for its biosynthesis or remodeling may impact the plants resistance to pathogens. This review summarizes our understanding of the role of the plant cell wall in pathogen resistance with a focus on the contribution of lignin to this biological process.
Keywords: cell wall; cellulose; lignin; plant immunity; plant pathogen; xylan.