Stomata and pathogens: Warfare at the gates

Plant Signal Behav. 2009 Dec;4(12):1114-6. doi: 10.4161/psb.4.12.10062.


Bacteria and fungi are capable of triggering stomatal closure through pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which prevents penetration through these pores. Therefore, the stomata can be considered part of the plant innate immune response. Some pathogens have evolved mechanisms to evade stomatal defense. The bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), which infects plants of the Brassicaceae family mainly through hydathodes, has also been reported to infect plants through stomata. A recent report shows that penetration of Xcc in Arabidopsis leaves through stomata depends on a secreted small molecule whose synthesis is under control of the rpf/diffusible signal factor (DSF) cell-to-cell signaling system, which also controls genes involved in biofilm formation and pathogenesis. The same reports shows that Arabidopsis ROS- and PAMP-activated MAP kinase 3 (MPK3) is essential for stomatal innate response. Other recent and past findings about modulation of stomatal behaviour by pathogens are also discussed. In all, these findings support the idea that PAMP-triggered stomatal closure might be a more effective and widespread barrier against phytopathogens than previously thought, which has in turn led to the evolution in pathogens of several mechanisms to evade stomatal defense.

Keywords: DSF; arabidopsis; plant defense; rpf genes; stomata; xanthomonas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Stomata / genetics
  • Plant Stomata / immunology
  • Plant Stomata / metabolism
  • Plant Stomata / microbiology*