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Succulent plants represent a large functional group of drought-resistant plants that store water in specialized tissues. Several co-adaptive traits accompany this water-storage capacity to constitute the succulent syndrome. A widely reported anatomical adaptation of cell walls in succulent tissues allows them to fold in a regular fashion during extended drought, thus preventing irreversible damage and permitting reversible volume changes. Although ongoing research on crop and model species continuously reports the importance of cell walls and their dynamics in drought resistance, the cell walls of succulent plants have received relatively little attention to date, despite the potential of succulents as natural capital to mitigate the effects of climate change. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of cell walls in drought-avoiding succulents and their effects on tissue biomechanics, water relations, and photosynthesis. We also highlight the existing knowledge gaps and propose a hypothetical model for regulated cell wall folding in succulent tissues upon dehydration. Future perspectives of methodological development in succulent cell wall characterization, including the latest technological advances in molecular and imaging techniques, are also presented. © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.


Marc Fradera-Soler, Olwen M Grace, Bodil Jørgensen, Jozef Mravec. Elastic and collapsible: current understanding of cell walls in succulent plants. Journal of experimental botany. 2022 Apr 18;73(8):2290-2307

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PMID: 35167681

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