Recognition of microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) is crucial for the plant's immune response. How this sophisticated perception system can be usefully deployed in roots, continuously exposed to microbes, remains a mystery. By analyzing MAMP receptor expression and response at cellular resolution in Arabidopsis, we observed that differentiated outer cell layers show low expression of pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) and lack MAMP responsiveness. Yet, these cells can be gated to become responsive by neighbor cell damage. Laser ablation of small cell clusters strongly upregulates PRR expression in their vicinity, and elevated receptor expression is sufficient to induce responsiveness in non-responsive cells. Finally, localized damage also leads to immune responses to otherwise non-immunogenic, beneficial bacteria. Damage-gating is overridden by receptor overexpression, which antagonizes colonization. Our findings that cellular damage can "switch on" local immune responses helps to conceptualize how MAMP perception can be used despite the presence of microbial patterns in the soil.
Keywords: Arabidopsis; damage-gating; localized response; microbe patterns; pattern-recognition receptors; root immunity.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.