About this Research Topic
The cell wall is the key structural element in plants controlling their growth and development by tuning strength, rigidity and flexibility of cells and tissues. The primary wall is made up of a network of rigid cellulose microfibrils embedded in a hydrated gel-like matrix containing non-cellulosic and pectic polysaccharides and some (glyco)proteins. The cellulose microfibrils can influence the direction of growth (confer anisotropy), while the matrix influences tethering of cellulose microfibrils and provides control of cell wall hydration, which are key factors determining cell wall mechanics. In the face of mechanical stress, either generated internally by turgor or imposed by the external environment, sensing the status of the wall is crucial to enabling regulated ‘loosening’ and ‘reinforcement’. The importance of understanding mechanical signals in regulating growth of plants has increased dramatically in recent years. A key functional property of the wall is therefore likely to be biomechanical. These properties depend upon a mixture of covalent, non-covalent and physical interactions that confer the cell wall its visco-elastic properties and ability to dynamically respond to growth and stress cues.
Linking the deposition of polysaccharides to the micromechanics of the wall is advancing thanks to approaches such as atomic force microscopy, high resolution live cell imaging combined with micromechanical manipulation. In addition, in vivo, “synthetic” in vivo (bacterial cellulose synthesis in the presence/absence of matrix phase polysaccharides), in vitro and in silico modeling approaches are providing fresh insight into wall biomechanics.
The aim of this Research Topic is to collect a series of reviews and original research articles which focus on wall biophysics, chemistry, biosynthesis, architecture and models relating to wall mechanics.
Photo Credit: Dr Drew Berry
Keywords: Mechanics, Carbohydrate, Biophysics, Biosynthesis, Remodeling
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