Plant stomata: a checkpoint of host immunity and pathogen virulence

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2010 Oct;21(5):599-603. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.05.006. Epub 2010 Jun 21.


Stomata are microscopic pores formed by pairs of guard cells in the epidermis of terrestrial plants; they are essential for gas exchange with the environment and controlling water loss. Accordingly, plants regulate stomatal aperture in response to environmental conditions, such as relative humidity, CO(2) concentration, and light intensity. Stomatal openings are also a major route of pathogen entry into the plant and plants have evolved mechanisms to regulate stomatal aperture as an immune response against bacterial invasion. In this review, we highlight studies that begin to elucidate signaling events involved in bacterium-triggered stomatal closure and discuss how pathogens may have exploited environmental conditions or, in some cases, have evolved virulence factors to actively counter stomatal closure to facilitate invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate / radiation effects
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Stomata / immunology*
  • Plant Stomata / metabolism*
  • Plant Stomata / microbiology
  • Virulence / physiology