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J Exp Bot. 2007;58(15-16):4019-26. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erm298.

Plant physiology meets phytopathology: plant primary metabolism and plant-pathogen interactions.

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Julius-von-Sachs-Institut fuer Biowissenschaften, Universitaet Wuerzburg, Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2, 97082 Wuerzburg, Germany.


Phytopathogen infection leads to changes in secondary metabolism based on the induction of defence programmes as well as to changes in primary metabolism which affect growth and development of the plant. Therefore, pathogen attack causes crop yield losses even in interactions which do not end up with disease or death of the plant. While the regulation of defence responses has been intensively studied for decades, less is known about the effects of pathogen infection on primary metabolism. Recently, interest in this research area has been growing, and aspects of photosynthesis, assimilate partitioning, and source-sink regulation in different types of plant-pathogen interactions have been investigated. Similarly, phytopathological studies take into consideration the physiological status of the infected tissues to elucidate the fine-tuned infection mechanisms. The aim of this review is to give a summary of recent advances in the mutual interrelation between primary metabolism and pathogen infection, as well as to indicate current developments in non-invasive techniques and important strategies of combining modern molecular and physiological techniques with phytopathology for future investigations.

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