Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Zhenni Li

Zhenni Li
Zhenni Li
Im Neuenheimer Feld 230
69120 Heidelberg
Fon +49 6221 54-5614
ed.grebledieh-inu.soc TEA il.innehz

      Role of cell identity in the response to cell wall perturbation


The cell wall is a cellular compartment clearly distinguishing plant cells from animal cells. It's a rigid, yet flexible layer outside the plasma membrane that mainly consists of complex polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin), lignin and some structural proteins. This wall fulfills a variety of essential functions including determining cell shapes, providing mechanical strength, roles in intercellular communication and plant-pathogen/environment interactions. As sessile organisms, plants need to perceive various signals from the environment and adjust their growth in order to correctly allocate different resources between growth and defense. During the life cycle, growth responses of plant cells to both intrinsic and extrinsic cues are based on cell wall expansion. Thus, cell wall integrity (CWI) is challenged by growth itself. Furthermore, given its exposed location and role as a physical barrier, the plant cell wall is constantly subjected to extrinsic biotic and abiotic cues, especially as primary target of many plant pathogens. Therefore, surveillance of the cell wall's physical properties and its regulation are crucial for plant growth control and survival. Previous studies in the group allowed the identification of a novel cell wall signaling (CWS) pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana that ensures cell wall homeostasis by monitoring the state of pectin in the cell wall and regulate plant growth through activation of brassinosteroid (BR) signaling pathway. The aim of this project is to study the spatio-temporal relevance of cell wall property and CWS for plant growth coordination. 

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