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Trends Plant Sci. 2007 Jul;12(7):310-6. Epub 2007 Jun 26.

Before gene expression: early events in plant-insect interaction.

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Department of Plant Biology and Centre of Excellence CEBIOVEM, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.


Successful defense depends on the ability of the plant to recognize an attacking 'enemy' as early as possible. Early defense responses require enemy-initiated signaling cascades. Their activation ensures an induced response that is quantitative, timely and coordinated with other activities of the host cells. Damage-induced ion imbalances and modulations of channel activities are the first events occurring in the plasma membrane and result in rapid perturbations of the plasma membrane potential (V(m)) involving variations of cytosolic Ca(2+) concentrations. Interacting downstream networks of kinases and phytohormones mediate the signal and result in concerted gene activation. Here we review and discuss early events occurring before herbivore attack-related gene expression that are responsible for cascades of events and signal transductions, eventually leading to indirect and direct plant responses.

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