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The pectin matrix of the angiosperm cell wall is regulated in both synthesis and modification and greatly influences the direction and extent of cell growth. Pathogens, herbivory and mechanical stresses all influence this pectin matrix and consequently plant form and function. The cell wall-associated kinases (WAKs) bind to pectin and regulate cell expansion or stress responses depending upon the state of the pectin. This review explores the WAKs in the context of cell wall biology and signal transduction pathways.