One of the main differences between plant and animal cells are the walls surrounding plant cells providing structural support during development and protection like an adaptive armor against biotic and abiotic stress. During recent years it has become widely accepted that plant cells use a dedicated system to monitor and maintain the functional integrity of their walls. Maintenance of integrity is achieved by modifying the cell wall and cellular metabolism in order to permit tightly controlled changes in wall composition and structure. While a substantial amount of evidence supporting the existence of the mechanism has been reported, knowledge regarding its precise mode of action is still limited. The currently available evidence suggests similarities of the plant mechanism with respect to both design principles and molecular components involved to the very well characterized system active in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. There the system has been implicated in cell morphogenesis as well as response to abiotic stresses such as osmotic challenges. Here the currently available knowledge on the yeast system will be reviewed initially to provide a framework for the subsequent discussion of the plant cell wall integrity maintenance mechanism. The review will then end with a discussion on possible design principles for the cell wall integrity maintenance mechanism and the function of the plant turgor pressure in this context.
Keywords: Biotic stress; Cell wall integrity; Mechanoperception; Osmosensing; Plant cell wall; Turgor.
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