Advances on plant-pathogen interactions from molecular toward systems biology perspectives

Plant J. 2017 May;90(4):720-737. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13429. Epub 2017 Feb 10.


In the past 2 decades, progress in molecular analyses of the plant immune system has revealed key elements of a complex response network. Current paradigms depict the interaction of pathogen-secreted molecules with host target molecules leading to the activation of multiple plant response pathways. Further research will be required to fully understand how these responses are integrated in space and time, and exploit this knowledge in agriculture. In this review, we highlight systems biology as a promising approach to reveal properties of molecular plant-pathogen interactions and predict the outcome of such interactions. We first illustrate a few key concepts in plant immunity with a network and systems biology perspective. Next, we present some basic principles of systems biology and show how they allow integrating multiomics data and predict cell phenotypes. We identify challenges for systems biology of plant-pathogen interactions, including the reconstruction of multiscale mechanistic models and the connection of host and pathogen models. Finally, we outline studies on resistance durability through the robustness of immune system networks, the identification of trade-offs between immunity and growth and in silico plant-pathogen co-evolution as exciting perspectives in the field. We conclude that the development of sophisticated models of plant diseases incorporating plant, pathogen and climate properties represent a major challenge for agriculture in the future.

Keywords: genome-scale metabolic network; immunity; modeling; network; plant-pathogen interactions; robustness; systems biology; trade-off.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Plant Immunity / physiology
  • Systems Biology / methods*