Effects of Microbial Pathogens

  • Hans Lambers
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • Thijs L. Pons


Plants frequently encounter potentially pathogenic fungi, bacteria, and viruses, yet disease results from relatively few of these exposures. In many cases there is no obvious trace of its occurrence, and the microorganism fails to establish itself due to a low pathogenicity or highly effective plant defense mechanisms. Other encounters leave evidence of an intense plant–microbe interaction, which results in the arrest of pathogen development after attempted colonization. In these cases plant tissues often display activated defense functions that produce antimicrobial compounds (phytoalexins), enzymes, and structural reinforcement that may limit pathogen growth (Delaney 1997). Plant defense responses against pathogens have much in common with responses following herbivore attack ( Chapter 9B on ecological biochemistry), in terms of both signaling and final outcome, as will be explored below.


Salicylic Acid Jasmonic Acid Hypersensitive Response Systemic Resistance Microbial Pathogen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bell, A.A. 1981. Biochemical mechanisms of disease resistance. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 32: 21–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biere, A., Marak, H.B., and Van Damme, J.M.M. 2004. Plant chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens: generalized defense or trade-offs? Oecologia 140: 430–441.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boller, T. 1995. Chemoperception of microbial signals in plant cells. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol. 46: 189–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bostock, R.M. 2005. Signal crosstalk and induced resistance: straddling the line between cost and benefit. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 43: 545–580.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Broglie, K., Holliday, M., Cressman, R., Riddle, P., Knowtown, S., Mauvais, C.J., & Broglie, R. 1991. Transgenic plants with enhanced resistance to the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. Science 254: 1195–1197.Google Scholar
  6. Bruin, J., Sabelis, M.W., & Dicke, M. 1995. Do plants tap SOS signals from their infested neighbours. Trends Ecol. Evol. 10: 167–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cammue, B.P.A., Thevissen, K., Hendriks, M., Eggermont, K., Goderis, I.J., Proots, P., Van Damme, J., Osborn, R.P., Guerbette, F., Kader, J.-C., & Broekaert, W.F. 1995. A potent antimicrobial protein from onion seeds showing sequence homology to plant lipid transfer proteins. Plant Physiol. 109: 445–455.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chamberlain, D.W. & Paxton, J.D. 1968. Protection of soybean plants by phytoalexins. Phytopathology 58: 1349–1350.Google Scholar
  9. Chisholm, S.T., Coaker, G., Day, B., & Staskawicz, B.J. 2006. Host-microbe interactions: shaping the evolution of the plant immune response. Cell 124: 803–814.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Conrath, U., Pieterse, C.M.J., & Mauch-Mani, B. 2002. Priming in plant-pathogen interactions. Trends Plant Sci. 7: 210–216PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Delaney, T.P. 1997. Genetic dissection of acquired resistance to disease. Plant Physiol. 113: 5–12.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Vos, M., Van Zaanen, W., Koornneef, A., Korzelius, J.P., Dicke, M., Van Loon, L.C., & Pieterse, C.M.J. 2006. Herbivore-induced resistance against microbial pathogens in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 142: 352–363.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Wit, P.J.G.M. 1997. Pathogen avirulence and plant resistance: A key role for recognition. Trends Plant Sci. 2: 452–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Durrant, W.E. & Dong, X. 2004. Systemic acquired resistance. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 42: 185–209.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Epple, P., Apel, K., & Bohlmann, H. 1997. Overexpression of an endogenous thionin enhances resistance of Arabidopsis against Fusarium oxysporum. Plant Cell 9: 509–520.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Flor, H. 1971. Current status of the gene-for-gene concept. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 9: 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hahn, M.G., Bonhoff, A., & Griesenbach, H. 1985. Quantitative localization of the phytoalexin glyceollin I in relation to fungal hyphae in soybean roots infected with Phytophtora megasperma f. sp. glycinea. Plant Physiol. 77: 591–601.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. He, S.Y. 1996. Elicitation of plant hypersensitive response by bacteria. Plant Physiol. 112: 865–869.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Heil, M. & Bostock, R.M. 2002. Induced systemic resistance (ISR) against pathogens in the context of induced plant defences. Ann. Bot. 89: 503–512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hoffland, E., Niemann, G.J., Van Pelt, J.A., Pureveen, J.B.M., Eijkel, G.B., Boon, J.J., & Lambers, H. 1996a. Relative growth rate correlates negatively with pathogen resistance in radish. The role of plant chemistry. Plant Cell Environ. 19: 1281–1290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoffland, E., Hakulinen, I., & Van Pelt, J.A. 1996b. Comparison of systemic resistance induced by avirulent and non-pathogenic Pseudomonas species. Phytopathology 86: 757–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones, A.M. & Dangl, J.L. 1996. Logjam at the Styx: programmed cell death in plants. Trends Plant Sci. 1: 114–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kader, J.-C. 1996. Lipid-transfer proteins in plants. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol. 47: 627–654.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kader, J.-C. 1997. Lipid-transfer proteins: A puzzling family of plant proteins. Trends Plant Sci. 2: 66–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kauss, H. & Jeblick, W. 1996. Influence of salicylic acid on the induction of competence for H2O2 elicitation. Plant Physiol. 111: 755–763.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Linthorst, H. 1991. Pathogenesis-related proteins of plants. Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 10: 123–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ma, J.F. & Yamaji, N. 2006. Silicon uptake and accumulation in higher plants. Trends Plant Sci. 11: 392–397.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mehdy, M.C., Sharma, Y.K., Sathasivan, K., & Bays, N.W. 1996. The role of activated oxygen species in plant disease resistance. Physiol. Plant. 98: 365–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Osbourn, A. 1996. Saponins and plant defence—a soap story. Trend Plant Sci. 1: 4–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pieterse, C.M.J., Van Pelt, J.A., Van Wees, S.C.M., Ton, J.T., Léon-Kloosterziel, K.M., Keurentjes, J.J.B., Verhagen, B.W.M., Knoester, M., Van der Sluis, I., Bakker, P.A.H.M., & Van Loon, L.C. 2001. Rhizobacteria-mediated induced systemic resistance: triggering, signalling and expression. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 107: 51–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pieterse, C.M.J., Van Wees, S.C.M., Ton, J., Van Pelt, J.A., & Van Loon, L.C. 2002. Signalling in rhizobacteria-induced systemic resistance inArabidopsis thaliana. Plant Biol. 4: 535–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Poschenrieder, C., Tolra, R., & Barceló, J. 2006. Can metals defend plants against biotic stress? Trends Plant Sci. 11: 88–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pryor, A.J. & Ellis, J.G. 1993. The genetic complexity of fungal disease resistance genes in plants. Adv. Plant Pathol. 10: 281–305.Google Scholar
  34. Raikhel, N.V., Lee, H.-I., & Broekaert, W.F. 1993. Structure and function of chitin-binding proteins. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol. 44: 591–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ryals, J., Uknes, S., & Ward, E. 1994. Systemic acquired resistance. Plant Physiol. 104: 1109–1112.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Shulaev, V., Silverman, P., & Raskin, I. 1997. Airborne signalling by methyl salicylate in plant pathogen resistance. Nature 385: 718–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Simons, B.H. & Lambers, H. 1998. The alternative oxidase: is it a respiratory pathway allowing a plant to cope with stress? In: Plant responses to environmental stresses: from phytohormones to genome reorganization, H.R. Lerner (ed.). Marcel Dekker, New York, pp. 265–286.Google Scholar
  38. Spoel, S.H., Koornneef, A., Claessens, S.M.C., Korzelius, J.P., Van Pelt, J.A., Mueller, M.J., Buchala, A.J., Métraux, J.-P., Brown, R., Kazan, K., Van Loon, L.C., Dong, X., & Pieterse, C.M.J. 2003. NPR1 modulates cross-talk between salicylate- and jasmonate-dependent defense pathways through a novel function in the cytosol. Plant Cell 15: 760–770.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stakman, E.C. 1915. Relation between Puccinia graminis f.sp. tritici and plants highly resistant to its attack. J. Agric. Res. 4: 195–199.Google Scholar
  40. Taylor, C.B. 1997. Unraveling disease resistance specificities. Plant Cell 9: 466–469.PubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Taylor, C.B. 1998. Defense responses in plants and animals—more of the same. Plant Cell 10: 873–876.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tenhaken, R. & Rübel, C. 1998. Salicylic acid is needed in hypersensitive cell death in soybean but does not act as a catalase inhibitor. Plant Physiol. 115: 291–298.Google Scholar
  43. Thaler, J.S., Fidantsef, A.L., Duffey, S.S., & Bostock, R.M. 1999. Trade-offs in plant defense against pathogens and herbivores: a field demonstration of chemical elicitors of induced resistance. J. Chem. Ecol. 25: 1597–1609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. VanEtten, H.D., Sandrock, R.W., Wasmnan, C.C., Soby, S.D., McCluskey, K., & Wang, P. 1994. Detoxification of phytoanticipins and phytoalexins by phytopathogenic fungi. Can. J. Bot. 73 (Suppl. 1): S518–S525.Google Scholar
  45. Van Loon, L.C., Bakker, P.A.H.M., & Pieterse, C.M.J. 1998. Systemic resistance induced by rhizosphere bacteria. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 36: 453–483.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Van Loon, L.C., Rep, M., & Pieterse, C.M.J. 2006. Significance of inducible defense-related proteins in infected plants. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 44: 135–162.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Van Peer, R., Niemann, G.J., & Schippers, B. 1991. Induced resistance and phytoalexin accumulation in biological control of Fusarium wilt of carnation by Pseudomonas sp. strain WCS417r. Phytopathology 81: 728–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vernooij, B., Friedrich, L., Morse, A., Reist, R., Kolditz-Jawhar, R., Ward, E., Uknes, S., Kessmann, H., & Ryals, J. 1994. Salicylic acid is not the translocated signal responsible for inducing systemic acquired resistance but is required in signal transduction. Plant Cell 6: 959–965PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vierheilig, H., Alt, M., Neuhaus, J.-M., Boller, T., & Wiemken, A. 1993. Colonization of transgenic Nicotiana sylvestris plants, expressing different forms of Nicotiana tabacum chitinase, by the root pathogen Rhizoctonia solani and by the mycorrhizal symbiont Glomus mosseae. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 6: 261–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wei, G., Kloepper, J.W., & Tuzun, S. 1991. Induction of systemic resistance of cucumber to Colletrotrichium orbiculate by selected strains of plant growth-promiting rhizobacteria. Phytopathology 81: 1508–1512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Lambers
    • 1
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 2
  • Thijs L. Pons
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.University of AlaskaFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Utrecht UniversityThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations