The evolutionary history of plants is tightly connected with the evolution of microbial pathogens and herbivores, which use photosynthetic end products as a source of life. In these interactions, plants, as the stationary party, have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to sense, signal and respond to the presence of external stress agents. Chloroplasts are metabolically versatile organelles that carry out fundamental functions in determining appropriate immune reactions in plants. Besides photosynthesis, chloroplasts host key steps in the biosynthesis of amino acids, stress hormones and secondary metabolites, which have a great impact on resistance against pathogens and insect herbivores. Changes in chloroplast redox signalling pathways and reactive oxygen species metabolism also mediate local and systemic signals, which modulate plant resistance to light stress and disease. Moreover, interplay among chloroplastic signalling networks and plasma membrane receptor kinases is emerging as a key mechanism that modulates stress responses in plants. This review highlights the central role of chloroplasts in the signalling crosstalk that essentially determines the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions in plants.
Keywords: chloroplast; photosynthesis; plant immunity; reactive oxygen species; salicylic acid.