The pathogen-actin connection: a platform for defense signaling in plants

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2011;49:483-506. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-072910-095426.


The cytoskeleton, a dynamic network of cytoplasmic polymers, plays a central role in numerous fundamental processes, such as development, reproduction, and cellular responses to biotic and abiotic stimuli. As a platform for innate immune responses in mammalian cells, the actin cytoskeleton is a central component in the organization and activation of host defenses, including signaling and cellular repair. In plants, our understanding of the genetic and biochemical responses in both pathogen and host that are required for virulence and resistance has grown enormously. Additional advances in live-cell imaging of cytoskeletal dynamics have markedly altered our view of actin turnover in plants. In this review, we outline current knowledge of host resistance following pathogen perception, both in terms of the genetic interactions that mediate defense signaling, as well as the biochemical and cellular processes that are required for defense signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Fungi / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Molecular Imaging / methods
  • Nematoda / physiology
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology*
  • Plant Immunity / physiology*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / immunology
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Actins
  • Microfilament Proteins