Indexed on: 04 Apr '09Published on: 04 Apr '09Published in: Trends in Cell Biology
Owing to the sessile nature of their lifestyle, plants have to respond to a wide range of signals, such as the force of the wind or the impedance of the soil, to entrain their development to prevailing environmental conditions. Indeed, mechanically responsive growth has been documented in plants for many years but new work on lateral root formation strongly supports the idea that biophysical forces can elicit complete de novo developmental programs. In addition, only recently have molecular candidates for plant mechanosensors emerged. Such advances in understanding plant mechanoresponsive development have relied heavily on comparison with mechanosensors characterized in organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli, but key questions remain about the cellular basis of the plant mechanosensory system.