Mechanisms of survival of necrotrophic fungal plant pathogens in hosts expressing the hypersensitive response

Phytochemistry. 2001 Sep;58(1):33-41. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9422(01)00187-x.


The hypersensitive response (HR), elicited when resistant hosts are infected by incompatible races of biotrophic fungi, has been researched extensively. New studies on host responses to necrotrophic fungi are beginning to show that when the HR occurs in hosts colonized by necrotrophs, fungal growth is accelerated rather than retarded. We review current knowledge about how necrotrophs survive in host plants in which the HR is expressed. We discuss how necrotrophs cope with the environmental factors formed as a result of the HR. Necrotrophs contain an array of enzymes, which can help in exploiting the hostile environment in order to colonize the host and to remove or inactivate active oxygen species (AOS). Among this array of enzymes are superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidases, catalase, and perhaps laccases and polyphenol oxidases. Of these, only SOD and catalase have been studied in any detail. The precise significance of SOD and catalase in host invasion and fungal resistance is still not adequately known. The importance of different peroxidases is also still far from clear. We speculate that AOS species may trigger the response of necrotrophs to the host environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species