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Abstract

Attention is given to the role of Ca2+ at the interface between the cell wall and the cytoplast, especially as seen in pollen tubes. While the cytoplasm directs the synthesis and deposition of the wall, it is less well appreciated that the wall exerts considerable self control and influences activities of the cytoplasm. Ca2+ participates as a crucial factor in this two way communication. In the cytoplasm, a [Ca2+] above 0.1 μM, regulates myriad processes, including secretion of cell wall components. In the cell wall Ca2+, at 10 μM to 10 mM, binds negative charges on pectins and imparts structural rigidity to the wall. The plasma membrane occupies a pivotal position between these two compartments, where selective channels regulate influx of Ca2+, and specific carriers pump the ion back into the wall. In addition we draw attention to different factors, which either respond to the wall or are present in the wall, and usually generate elevated [Ca2+] in the cytoplasm. These factors include: (i) stretch activated channels; (ii) calmodulin; (iii) annexins; (iv) wall associated kinases; (v) oligogalacturonides; and (vi) extracellular adenosine 5′-triphosphate. Together they provide evidence for a rich and multifaceted system of communication between the cytoplast and cell wall, with Ca2+ as a carrier of information.