What does a cell wall do?


Quick Answer

The cell wall of plants is a tough, yet flexible layer that surrounds the cell membrane. It has many functions, but its main function is to give the plant cell rigidity and strength.

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Full Answer

Cell walls of plants also help to determine and maintain the shape and structure of plant cells. They also support the plant and allow plants to grow tall and hold out their leaves to obtain light energy for photosynthetic reactions.

Another important function of cell walls is to act as a physical barrier. Plant cell walls are semipermeable and only allow small molecules into the plant cell. This allows nutrients and water to pass through the cell wall, but doesn’t allow pathogenic bacteria and viruses into the plant. In this way, cell walls protect plants from disease.

Cell walls also help promote cellular communication. Oligosaccharides are parts of cell walls that are responsible for cell-to-cell signaling. These compounds can stimulate plant hormone product, protect plants from bacteria and viruses, and induce enzymatic changes within the plant cells. Cell walls can also resist changes in water pressure. In doing so, cell walls prevent cell membranes from bursting in hypotonic media. Overall, cell walls greatly contribute to the health and wellness of a plant.

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