Annual Review of Phytopathology (2013) 51, 543-570

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Martin B. Dickman and Robert Fluhr (2013)
Centrality of host cell death in plant-microbe interactions
Annual Review of Phytopathology 51, 543-570
Abstract: Programmed cell death (PCD) is essential for proper growth, development, and cellular homeostasis in all eukaryotes. The regulation of PCD is of central importance in plant-microbe interactions; notably, PCD and features associated with PCD are observed in many host resistance responses. Conversely, pathogen induction of inappropriate cell death in the host results in a susceptible phenotype and disease. Thus, the party in control of PCD has a distinct advantage in these battles. PCD processes appear to be of ancient origin, as indicated by the fact that many features of cell death strategy are conserved between animals and plants; however, some of the details of death execution differ. Mammalian core PCD genes, such as caspases, are not present in plant genomes. Similarly, pro- and antiapoptotic mammalian regulatory elements are absent in plants, but, remarkably, when expressed in plants, successfully impact plant PCD. Thus, subtle structural similarities independent of sequence homology appear to sustain operational equivalence. The vacuole is emerging as a key organelle in the modulation of plant PCD. Under different signals for cell death, the vacuole either fuses with the plasmalemma membrane or disintegrates. Moreover, the vacuole appears to play a key role in autophagy; evidence suggests a prosurvival function for autophagy, but other studies propose a prodeath phenotype. Here, we describe and discuss what we know and what we do not know about various PCD pathways and how the host integrates signals to activate salicylic acid and reactive oxygen pathways that orchestrate cell death. We suggest that it is not cell death as such but rather the processes leading to cell death that contribute to the outcome of a given plant-pathogen interaction.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
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