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Cell Microbiol. 2007 Jul;9(7):1621-9. Epub 2007 Apr 5.

Role of plant stomata in bacterial invasion.

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Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Stomata are microscopic pores in the epidermis of the aerial parts of terrestrial plants. These pores are essential for photosynthesis, as they allow CO(2) to diffuse into the plant. The size of the stomatal pore changes in response to environmental conditions, such as light intensity, air humidity and CO(2) concentrations, as part of the plant's adaptation to maximize photosynthetic efficiency and, at the same time, to minimize water loss. Historically, stomata have been considered as passive portal of entry for plant pathogenic bacteria. However, recent studies suggest that stomata can play an active role in restricting bacterial invasion as part of the plant innate immune system. Some plant pathogens have evolved specific virulence factors to overcome stomata-based defence. Interestingly, many bacterial disease outbreaks require high humidity, rain, or frost damage, which could promote stomatal opening and/or bypass stomatal defence by creating wounds as alternative entry sites. Further studies on microbial and environmental regulation of stomata-based defence should fill gaps in our understanding of bacterial pathogenesis, disease epidemiology and phyllosphere microbiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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