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J Plant Physiol. 2008 Jan;165(1):83-94. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

Strategies of attack and defense in plant-oomycete interactions, accentuated for Phytophthora parasitica Dastur (syn. P. Nicotianae Breda de Haan).

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  • 1Unité Mixte de Recherches, Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes et Santé Végétale, INRA1064-CNRS6192-UNSA, BP 167, 400 Route des Chappes, 06903 Sophia Antipolis, France.


Oomycetes from the genus Phytophthora are fungus-like plant pathogens that are devastating for agriculture and natural ecosystems. Due to their particular physiological characteristics, no efficient treatments against diseases caused by these microorganisms are presently available. To develop such treatments, it appears essential to dissect the molecular mechanisms that determine the interaction between Phytophthora species and host plants. Available data are scarce, and genomic approaches were mainly developed for the two species, Phytophthora infestans and Phytophthora sojae. However, these two species are exceptions from, rather than representative species for, the genus. P. infestans is a foliar pathogen, and P. sojae infects a narrow range of host plants, while the majority of Phytophthora species are quite unselective, root-infecting pathogens. To represent this majority, Phytophthora parasitica emerges as a model for the genus, and genomic resources for analyzing its interaction with plants are developing. The aim of this review is to assemble current knowledge on cytological and molecular processes that are underlying plant-pathogen interactions involving Phytophthora species and in particular P. parasitica, and to place them into the context of a hypothetical scheme of co-evolution between the pathogen and the host.

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