Plants and pathogens: putting infection strategies and defence mechanisms on the map

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2012 Dec;15(6):699-707. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2012.08.009. Epub 2012 Sep 14.


All plant organs are vulnerable to colonisation and molecular manipulation by microbes. When this interaction allows proliferation of the microbe at the expense of the host, the microbe can be described as a pathogen. In our attempts to understand the full nature of the interactions that occur between a potential pathogen and its host, various aspects of the molecular mechanisms of infection and defence have begun to be characterised. There is significant variation in these mechanisms. While previous research has examined plant-pathogen interactions with whole plant/organ resolution, the specificity of infection strategies and changes in both gene expression and protein localisation of immune receptors upon infection suggest there is much to be gained from examination of plant-microbe interactions at the cellular level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / immunology
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cell Membrane / microbiology
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / microbiology
  • Fungi / immunology
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / immunology
  • Plant Cells / immunology
  • Plant Cells / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Epidermis / immunology
  • Plant Epidermis / microbiology
  • Plant Immunity*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / immunology
  • Plant Roots / immunology
  • Plant Roots / microbiology
  • Plant Stomata / microbiology
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / microbiology
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology


  • Plant Proteins
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases