Effector-triggered immunity: from pathogen perception to robust defense

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2015:66:487-511. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-050213-040012. Epub 2014 Dec 8.


In plant innate immunity, individual cells have the capacity to sense and respond to pathogen attack. Intracellular recognition mechanisms have evolved to intercept perturbations by pathogen virulence factors (effectors) early in host infection and convert it to rapid defense. One key to resistance success is a polymorphic family of intracellular nucleotide-binding/leucine-rich-repeat (NLR) receptors that detect effector interference in different parts of the cell. Effector-activated NLRs connect, in various ways, to a conserved basal resistance network in order to transcriptionally boost defense programs. Effector-triggered immunity displays remarkable robustness against pathogen disturbance, in part by employing compensatory mechanisms within the defense network. Also, the mobility of some NLRs and coordination of resistance pathways across cell compartments provides flexibility to fine-tune immune outputs. Furthermore, a number of NLRs function close to the nuclear chromatin by balancing actions of defense-repressing and defense-activating transcription factors to program cells dynamically for effective disease resistance.

Keywords: NLR receptors; defense networks; disease resistance signaling; plant-pathogen coevolution; transcriptional reprogramming.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disease Resistance*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Plant Diseases*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence Factors


  • Plant Proteins
  • Virulence Factors