Plant cell wall modification is a critical component in stress responses. Endo-1,4-β-glucanases (EGs) take part in cell wall editing processes, e.g. elongation, ripening and abscission. Here we studied the infection response of Solanum lycopersicum and Arabidopsis thaliana with impaired EGs. Transgenic TomCel1 and TomCel2 tomato antisense plants challenged with Pseudomonas syringae showed higher susceptibility, callose priming and increased jasmonic acid pathway marker gene expression. These two EGs could be resistance factors and may act as negative regulators of callose deposition, probably by interfering with the defence-signalling network. A study of a set of Arabidopsis EG T-DNA insertion mutants challenged with P. syringae and Botrytis cinerea revealed that the lack of other EGs interferes with infection phenotype, callose deposition, expression of signalling pathway marker genes and hormonal balance. We conclude that a lack of EGs could alter plant response to pathogens by modifying the properties of the cell wall and/or interfering with signalling pathways, contributing to generate the appropriate signalling outcomes. Analysis of microarray data demonstrates that EGs are differentially expressed upon many different plant–pathogen challenges, hormone treatments and many abiotic stresses. We found some Arabidopsis EG mutants with increased tolerance to osmotic and salt stress. Our results show that impairing EGs can alter plant–pathogen interactions and may contribute to appropriate signalling outcomes in many different biotic and abiotic plant stress responses.