The plant cell surface continuum
Plants sense and respond to many biotic and abiotic factors in their environment using receptor-mediated signalling mechanisms at the cell surface. For many years, cytoskeleton, plasma membrane and cell wall have been studied in isolation but they act concertedly to coordinate development and stress response. We use advanced imaging experimental techniques such as photobleaching recovery and total internal reflection in an attempt to understand the role played by cytoskeleton and cell wall in governing plasma membrane protein dynamics and interaction. Formin1, an actin interacting protein spans the plasma membrane and is anchored within the cell wall. This provides stability of actin microfilament structure and is probably important in maintenance of plasma membrane microdomain structure. The central question of ongoing research is, ‘Does the cell wall play a role in plasma membrane structuring?’ Cell wall mutant analysis combined with pharmacological treatments are beginning to provide evidence of this interaction. Total internal reflection allows us to image single molecules such as FLAGELLIN SENSITIVE2 (FLS2). Diffusion rates and domains alter dramatically in cell wall mutant lines, or when plants are treated with pathogen effectors such as flg22.