Tagged: pathogens

Salicylic acid-independent responses in PI4K mutants

Arabidopsis thaliana is the lab rat of plant sciences. Mutants tweaked in certain genes can show the effects of hormones on plants, but it can be hard to change one response without changing some others. How do plants work? A common method to find out what the various things inside a plant do is to get a mutant and test it against a known plant to see what the mutant effects are. Arabidopsis thaliana is the go-to plant for this kind of work. It has a small, well-known genome. It also has a large number of people working on it,...

Continue reading Salicylic acid-independent responses in PI4K mutants

Silicon in a sunflower

Silicon: the underappreciated plant nutrient

What nutrients do you consider to be important to a plant? What do plants need to be successful, to grow, photosynthesise, develop and defend themselves effectively against pests and disease? The majority of people, whether they study plants or not, would be able to mention at least a few of these: nitrogen, phosphorus . . . perhaps potassium. Probably very few, if any, would include silicon. It has been known for many years that the application of silicon can benefit plant growth. There is a long literature associated with silicon in agriculture. The Chinese use more than 30 million tons...

Continue reading Silicon: the underappreciated plant nutrient

Schematic representation of the role of cytokinins in plant growth and defence against biotrophic pathogens, and in the growth–defence trade-off.

Should I fight or should I grow? Cytokinins in defence-growth trade-offs

Constitutive defence activation in plants leads to resistance to a broad-spectrum of pathogens, but also frequently to stunted growth and reduced seed sets; how do plants decide whether to defend against infection or to utilise energy for growth? Plant hormones are important integrators of the physiological responses that influence the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions. Albrecht and Argueso discuss the mechanisms by which the plant hormone cytokinin regulates both plant growth and response to pathogens, and document the ways in which cytokinins may connect these two processes, ultimately affecting the growth trade-offs observed in plant immunity. This paper is part of...

Continue reading Should I fight or should I grow? Cytokinins in defence-growth trade-offs

The defensive role of foliar endophytic fungi for a South American tree

Fungal endophytes colonize living internal plant tissues without causing any visible symptoms of disease. Endophytic fungi associated with healthy leaves of the South American tree Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae) appear to play an important role in host protection in nature. A recent study published in AoB PLANTS by González-Teuber showed that a few common taxa dominated the fungal endophyte community in leaves of E. coccineum, and that higher infection rates of the dominant endophyte genera correlated with lower levels of leaf damage in the host plant. Furthermore, in vitro confrontation assays indicated that foliar endophytic fungi were able to successfully reduce...

Continue reading The defensive role of foliar endophytic fungi for a South American tree

Musa-Meloidogyne interaction

Plant immunity: A Special Issue of Annals of Botany

Plants are constantly exposed to a range of pathogens and pests, with the emergence of new virulent pathogen races responsible for considerable global crop losses every year. Progress in research in recent decades has increased our understanding of the plant innate immune system at the molecular level, fundamental for the continued development of novel approaches for control of emerging pathogens. This special issue will be devoted to highlighting current knowledge of mechanisms involved in plant innate immunity, focusing on molecular interactions occurring between plant hosts and a variety of invading pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and insects. The focus...

Continue reading Plant immunity: A Special Issue of Annals of Botany

Value of plant tissues.

How do plants know where they should defend?

If you’re a plant what is the best way to defend yourself, given that you can’t run from attackers? I’ve had a think and I went for being massive, with armour-planting, spikes, thorns and stings, along with poisonous leaves and roots. If this is such a good idea (and it’s not), why aren’t plants doing it? Defence on demand: mechanisms behind optimal defence patterns by Stefan Meldau, Matthias Erb and Ian Baldwin examines the optimal defence hypothesis which explains why. The optimal defence hypothesis makes a few assumptions. First, a plant has limited resources so defences have a cost. Cover...

Continue reading How do plants know where they should defend?