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What plants need to withstand drought

All life forms have to adapt to the environment in which they live. A warming climate can lead to more frequent drought. This can affect Earth's biological diversity.

Scientists solve 50-year-old mystery behind plant growth

A team of researchers led by UC Riverside has demonstrated for the first time one way that a small molecule turns a single cell into something as large as a tree. For half a century, scientists have known that all plants ...

First artificial scaffolds for studying plant cell growth

As a baby seedling emerges from the depths of the soil, it faces a challenge: gravity's downward push. To succeed, the plant must sense the force, then push upward with an even greater force. Visible growth is proof that ...

The defensive arsenal of plant roots

Plants adapt to their nutritional needs by modifying the permeability of their roots through the production or degradation of a cork-like layer called suberin. By studying the regulation of this protective layer in Arabidopsis ...

Alpine plant spins its own flavonoid wool

Like the movie version of Spider-Man who shoots spider webs from holes in his wrists, a little alpine plant has been found to eject cobweb-like threads from tiny holes in specialized cells on its leaves. It's these tiny holes ...

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Cell wall

A cell wall is a tough, flexible and sometimes fairly rigid layer that surrounds some types of cells. It is located outside the cell membrane and provides these cells with structural support and protection, and also acts as a filtering mechanism. A major function of the cell wall is to act as a pressure vessel, preventing over-expansion when water enters the cell. They are found in plants, bacteria, fungi, algae, and some archaea. Animals and protozoa do not have cell walls.

The materials in a cell wall vary between species, and in plants and fungi also differ between cell types and developmental stages. In plants, the strongest component of the complex cell wall is a carbohydrate called cellulose, which is a polymer of glucose. In bacteria, peptidoglycan forms the cell wall. Archaean cell walls have various compositions, and may be formed of glycoprotein S-layers, pseudopeptidoglycan, or polysaccharides. Fungi possess cell walls made of the glucosamine polymer chitin, and algae typically possess walls made of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Unusually, diatoms have a cell wall composed of silicic acid. Often, other accessory molecules are found anchored to the cell wall.

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