Background: Multicellular organisms have evolved systems/mechanisms to detect various forms of danger, including attack by microbial pathogens and a variety of pests, as well as tissue and cellular damage. Detection via cell-surface receptors activates an ancient and evolutionarily conserved innate immune system.
Result: Potentially harmful microorganisms are recognized by the presence of molecules or parts of molecules that have structures or chemical patterns unique to microbes and thus are perceived as non-self/foreign. They are referred to as Microbe-Associated Molecular Patterns (MAMPs). Recently, a class of small molecules that is made only by nematodes, and that functions as pheromones in these organisms, was shown to be recognized by a wide range of plants. In the presence of these molecules, termed Nematode-Associated Molecular Patterns (NAMPs), plants activate innate immune responses and display enhanced resistance to a broad spectrum of microbial and nematode pathogens. In addition to pathogen attack, the relocation of various endogenous molecules or parts of molecules, generally to the extracellular milieu, as a result of tissue or cellular damage is perceived as a danger signal, and it leads to the induction of innate immune responses. These relocated endogenous inducers are called Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs).
Conclusions: This mini-review is focused on plant DAMPs, including the recently discovered Arabidopsis HMGB3, which is the counterpart of the prototypic animal DAMP HMGB1. The plant DAMPs will be presented in the context of plant MAMPs and NAMPs, as well as animal DAMPs.
Keywords: DAMPs; Defense; Innate immunity; MAMPs; NAMPs; PAMPs; Receptors; Salicylic acid.