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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2002 Oct;5(5):396-401.

Role of the extracellular matrix in cell-cell signalling: paracrine paradigms.

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Marine Biological Association, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL2 2PB, UK.


The plant extracellular matrix (ECM) is complex and diverse, and is involved in cell-cell communication in a wide range of developmental, reproductive and pathogenic processes. Characterisation of integral ECM components is leading to improved understanding of their roles in signalling. Interactions between the extracellular domains of plant plasma membrane receptor kinases and their ligands are potentially regulated by the properties of the ECM. Several of these interactions, for example those involving the S-locus receptor kinase, are being characterised in some detail. Non-protein constituents are also implicated in regulating the movement of signalling molecules in the ECM, which is associated with developmental patterning. In contrast to the situation in animal cells, cytoskeleton-integrin-ECM signalling complexes appear not to be dominant features of signal transduction in plant cells. Nevertheless, structural adhesions between the plasma membrane and cell wall are important for a variety of functions.

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