Plant cell wall-mediated immunity: cell wall changes trigger disease resistance responses

Plant J. 2018 Feb;93(4):614-636. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13807. Epub 2018 Feb 2.


Plants have evolved a repertoire of monitoring systems to sense plant morphogenesis and to face environmental changes and threats caused by different attackers. These systems integrate different signals into overreaching triggering pathways which coordinate developmental and defence-associated responses. The plant cell wall, a dynamic and complex structure surrounding every plant cell, has emerged recently as an essential component of plant monitoring systems, thus expanding its function as a passive defensive barrier. Plants have a dedicated mechanism for maintaining cell wall integrity (CWI) which comprises a diverse set of plasma membrane-resident sensors and pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). The PRRs perceive plant-derived ligands, such as peptides or wall glycans, known as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). These DAMPs function as 'danger' alert signals activating DAMP-triggered immunity (DTI), which shares signalling components and responses with the immune pathways triggered by non-self microbe-associated molecular patterns that mediate disease resistance. Alteration of CWI by impairment of the expression or activity of proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis and/or remodelling, as occurs in some plant cell wall mutants, or by wall damage due to colonization by pathogens/pests, activates specific defensive and growth responses. Our current understanding of how these alterations of CWI are perceived by the wall monitoring systems is scarce and few plant sensors/PRRs and DAMPs have been characterized. The identification of these CWI sensors and PRR-DAMP pairs will help us to understand the immune functions of the wall monitoring system, and might allow the breeding of crop varieties and the design of agricultural strategies that would enhance crop disease resistance.

Keywords: DAMP; PRR; Arabidopsis; cell wall; cell wall integrity; cell wall mutant; disease resistance; immunity; wall sensor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / immunology
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Cell Wall / microbiology
  • Cellulose / biosynthesis
  • Disease Resistance / physiology
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules / immunology
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules / metabolism
  • Pectins / metabolism
  • Plant Cells / immunology
  • Plant Cells / metabolism
  • Plant Cells / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / immunology*
  • Plant Immunity / physiology*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology


  • Glucans
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules
  • Polysaccharides
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • hemicellulose
  • Pectins
  • Cellulose
  • callose