The cell wall is a complex structure, whose properties depend on the species, the environment, the tissue type and the stage of development of the plant. The physical characteristics and biological functions of the cell wall depend on its constituent structural polymers and the way they interact with each other to form the wall matrix. Higher plant cell walls are composed mainly of three types of polysaccharides: cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectins. Pectins play an important role in different physiological processes in plants. Although present also in monocots (Jarvis et al. 1988) and lower plants, pectins have mostly been studied in dicots. As structural polysaccharides, pectins contribute to the strength and flexibility of cell walls from non-lignified organs and ripening fruits. They are the first targets of enzymes released by fungal or bacterial invading pathogens, and pectic oligomers released by exo- or endogenous enzymes appear to be signal molecules involved in triggering plant defence mechanisms and morphogenesis.

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Acta botanica neerlandica

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Koninklijke Nederlandse Botanische Vereniging

P. van Cutsem, & J. Messiaen. (1994). Biological effects of pectic fragments in plant cells. Acta botanica neerlandica, 43(3), 231–245.