Plant cell wall in pathogenesis, parasitism and symbiosis
The cell wall is a complex structure mainly composed of cellulose microfibrils embedded in a cohesive hemicellulose and pectin matrix. Cell wall structural proteins, enzymes and their inhibitors are also essential components of plant cell walls. They are involved in the cross-link of cell wall polysaccharides, wall structure, and the perception and signaling of defense-related elicitors at the cell surface. In the outer part of the epidermal cells, the polysaccharides are coated by the cuticle, consisting of hydrophobic cutin, suberin and wax layers. Lignin, a macromolecule composed of highly cross-linked phenolic molecules, is a major component of the secondary cell wall. The cell wall is the first cell structure on which interactions between plants and a wide range of other organisms, including insects, nematodes, pathogenic or symbiotic micro-organisms take place. It not only represents a barrier that limits access to the cellular contents that provide a rich nutrient source for pathogens but serves as a source of elicitors of plant defense responses released upon partial enzymatic degradation of wall polysaccharides during infection. Modification of the plant cell wall can also occur at the level of plasmodesmata during virus infection as well as during abiotic stresses. The fine structure and composition of the plant cell wall as well as the regulation of its biosynthesis can thus strongly influence resistance and susceptibility to pathogens. This Research Topic provides novel insights and detailed overviews on the dynamics of the plant cell wall in plant defence, parasitism and symbiosis and describes experimental approaches to study plant cell wall modifications occurring during interaction of plants with different organisms.