An efficient sensing of danger and a rapid activation of the immune system are crucial for the survival of plants. Conserved pathogen/microbe-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs/MAMPs) and endogenous molecular patterns, which are present only when the tissue is infected or damaged (damage-associated molecular patterns or DAMPs), can act as danger signals and activate the plant immune response. These molecules are recognized by surface receptors that are indicated as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). In this paper we summarize recent information on oligogalacturonides (OGs), a class of DAMPs that is released from the extracellular matrix of the plant cell during pathogen attack or wounding. We also describe the characteristics of the Arabidopsis Wall-Associated Kinase 1 (WAK1), a PRR recently identified as a receptor of OGs and discuss the use of WAK1, PRRs and chimeric receptors to engineer resistance in crop plants.
Copyright © 2011 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.