Plants have evolved systems analogous to animal innate immunity that recognise pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMP detection is an important component of non-host resistance in plants and serves as an early warning system for the presence of potential pathogens. Binding of a PAMP to the appropriate pattern recognition receptor leads to downstream signalling events and, ultimately, to the induction of basal defence systems. To overcome non-host resistance, pathogens have evolved effectors that target specific regulatory components of the basal defence system. In turn, this has led to the evolution in plants of cultivar-specific resistance mediated by R proteins, which guard the targets of effectors against pathogen manipulation; the arms race continues.
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