Plant immunity: unravelling the complexity of plant responses to biotic stresses

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Abstract

Background

Plants are constantly exposed to evolving pathogens and pests, with crop losses representing a considerable threat to global food security. As pathogen evolution can overcome disease resistance that is conferred by individual plant resistance genes, an enhanced understanding of the plant immune system is necessary for the long-term development of effective disease management strategies. Current research is rapidly advancing our understanding of the plant innate immune system, with this multidisciplinary subject area reflected in the content of the 18 papers in this Special Issue.

Scope

Advances in specific areas of plant innate immunity are highlighted in this issue, with focus on molecular interactions occurring between plant hosts and viruses, bacteria, phytoplasmas, oomycetes, fungi, nematodes and insect pests. We provide a focus on research across multiple areas related to pathogen sensing and plant immune response. Topics covered are categorized as follows: binding proteins in plant immunity; cytokinin phytohormones in plant growth and immunity; plant-virus interactions; plant-phytoplasma interactions; plant-fungus interactions; plant-nematode interactions; plant immunity in Citrus; plant peptides and volatiles; and assimilate dynamics in source/sink metabolism.

Conclusions

Although knowledge of the plant immune system remains incomplete, the considerable ongoing scientific progress into pathogen sensing and plant immune response mechanisms suggests far reaching implications for the development of durable disease resistance against pathogens and pests.

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