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Cell Microbiol. 2007 Nov;9(11):2571-85. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

The grateful dead: calcium and cell death in plant innate immunity.

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Agricultural Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, 1390 Storrs Rd., Storrs, CT 06269-4163, USA.


Plant cells sensing pathogenic microorganisms evoke defence systems that can confer resistance to infection. This innate immune reaction can include triggering of basal defence responses as well as programmed cell death, or hypersensitive response (HR). In both cases (basal defence and HR), pathogen perception is translated into elevated cytosolic Ca(2+) (mediated by plasma membrane and intracellular channels) as an early step in a signalling cascade. Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels contribute to this influx of Ca(2+) into the cell. The molecular nature of other transport proteins contributing to the Ca(2+) elevation is unclear. Pathogen recognition occurs at two levels: the perception of pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) molecules widely present in microorganisms, and an interaction between pathogen avirulence gene products (if present) and corresponding plant R (resistance) gene products. The Ca(2+) elevation occurring in response to PAMP perception or R gene interactions could occur due to phosphorylation events, G-protein signalling and/or an increase in cyclic nucleotides. Downstream from the initial Ca(2+) rise, the signalling cascade includes: activation of calmodulin and protein kinases, and nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species generation. Some of these downstream events amplify the Ca(2+) signal by further activation of Ca(2+) transporters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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