Plant Cell Death: A Determinant of Disease Resistance and Susceptibility

  • J. A. Bailey
  • R. J. O’Connell
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 27)


Death and browning of plant cells and tissues are common symptoms in plants infected with pathogenic fungi. When such symptoms become extensive an infected plant is regarded as susceptible; when they become limited a plant is described as resistant. An extreme example of resistance associated with death of plant cells is the hypersensitive reaction, where only one, or at most, a few dead cells are associated with very restricted growth of the pathogen. In contrast, extreme susceptibility is seen as a large volume of rotting tissue, which increases in size as the pathogen continues to grow. The present paper outlines how symptom development can be explained in terms of the types of cell death that occur. In particular, it considers the ability of fungal toxins to kill cells and how interactions between the killed cells and surrounding healthy tissues can determine continued or restricted growth of plant pathogenic fungi.


Phenylalanine Ammonia Lyase Pectin Lyase Restricted Growth Plant Cell Death Colletotrichum Lindemuthianum 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Bailey
    • 1
  • R. J. O’Connell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Sciences, AFRC Institute of Arable Crops Research, Long Ashton Research StationUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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