Fungal and bacterial pathogens express sets of genes involved in establishing infection while novel genes are expressed in the host as part of its response. An understanding of the molecular communication that underlies the temporal and spatial control of these gene expression events is now within reach, as more sophisticated techniques of molecular and genetic analysis are applied to plant-pathogen interactions. Various aspects of the biochemistry and physiolÂ ogy of induced defense in hosts and of the molecular genetic basis of avirulence and virulence in bacterial phytopathogens have already been reÂ viewed (21,22,26,43,56,67). Here we review recent results shedding light on the nature of the molecular signals that determine or modulate hostÂ pathogen recognition, specificity, and induced defense. SIGNALS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF INFECTION Successful infection by microbial pathogens requires surface attachment, degradation of host chemical and physical barriers, production of toxins, and inactivation of plant defenses (67). Overall, up to 100 genes, including those involved in fitness, may be needed for bacterial pathogenicity (21), and the differentiation of elaborate infection structures by fungal pathogens suggests a correspondingly greater complexity. Regulation of microbial pathogenicity genes involves a complex interplay of signals between host and pathogen. For example, in
Annual Review of Plant Biology – Annual Reviews
Published: Jun 1, 1990
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