Acta botanica neerlandica , Volume 31 - Issue 5/6 p. 502- 504
Aspinall’s monograph about polysaccharides published only twelve years ago begins with the following sentence: “Polysaccharides seem at the moment to be less spectacular than proteins and nucleic acids”. Now, one might feel tempted to state the reverse and volume 13 B is there to prove it. It seems more than fitting therefore that this volume opens with a contribution by Aspinall about the constitution of plant cell wall polysaccharides. It was high time that the developments and breakthroughs of the past ten years were reviewed and presented in a single volume, because until now anyone entering the field had to find his way almost on his own. Fortunately, the title of the book has not been taken too literally. Hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins, cell wall enzymes and cell surface lectins are also covered. The first three sections which comprise the major part of the book review the composition, structure and biosynthesis of the cell wall and its components in higher plants, algae and fungi. Topics like lignin, cutin, suberin, algal autolysins and fungal mannoproteins are also included. The following section deals with secretion processes and the export of cell wall components. The remainder of the book deals with cell surface phenomena and the role of extracellular glycoconjugates in such seemingly diverging topics as pollination, plant-pathogen interactions and the role of lectins in the life cycle of slime molds and in Rhizobium-host interactions. Nevertheless, this divergence is mainly superficial because it is likely that common mechanisms underlie these phenomena. Of course, that is part of the excitement felt in this rapidly moving field. It is almost unavoidable that some recent developments such as the discovery of endogenous elicitors and the tentative identification of the proteinase-inhibitor inducing factor as a component of the primary cell wall are barely mentioned. Fortunately, the editors promise us a volume entirely devoted to cell-cell interactions.
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