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Trends Plant Sci. 2002 Sep;7(9):411-5.

Cell polarization, a crucial process in fungal defence.

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Central Microscopy, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl von Linné Weg 10, D-50829 Köln, Germany.


Plant cells responding to fungal attack undergo large morphological alterations, along with rapid and extensive metabolic reprogramming. Cytological analysis of single infected plant cells revealed a large complexity of interdependent, rapid and dynamic changes of a multitude of cellular components. Among these changes are major rearrangements of the cytoskeleton, translocation of cytoplasm and of the cell nucleus to the fungal penetration site, and local apposition of barrier material around this site, which results in massive cell-wall reinforcement. If this first line of defence is overcome by the pathogen, in many cases, it is followed by hypersensitive plant cell death, which stops growth of the penetrating fungus and finally leads to its death. The speed and magnitude of the initial defence response appear to be crucial to plant disease resistance.

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