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Membrane and walls: who is master, who is servant?
Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Specialised plant cell types often locally modify their cell walls as part of a developmental program, as do cells that are challenged by particular environmental conditions. Modifications can include deposition of secondary cellulose, callose, cutin, suberin or lignin. Although the biosyntheses of cell wall components are more and more understood, little is known about the mechanisms that control localised deposition of wall materials. During metaxylem vessel differentiation, site-specific cell wall deposition is locally prevented by the microtubule depolymerising protein MIDD1, which disassembles the cytoskeleton and precludes the cellulose synthase complex from depositing cellulose. As a result, metaxylem vessel secondary cell wall appears pitted. How MIDD1 is tethered at the plasma membrane and how other cell wall polymers are locally deposited remain elusive. Casparian strips in the root endodermis represent a further example of local cell wall deposition. The recent discovery of the Casparian Strip membrane domain Proteins (CASPs), which are located at the plasma membrane and are important for the site-specific deposition of lignin during Casparian strip development, establishes the root endodermis as an attractive model system to study the mechanisms of localised cell wall modifications. How secondary modifications are modulated and monitored during development or in response to environmental changes is another question that still misses a complete picture.
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