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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2008;46:101-22. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.121107.104959.

Role of stomata in plant innate immunity and foliar bacterial diseases.

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Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas, 76019, USA.


Pathogen entry into host tissue is a critical first step in causing infection. For foliar bacterial plant pathogens, natural surface openings, such as stomata, are important entry sites. Historically, these surface openings have been considered as passive portals of entry for plant pathogenic bacteria. However, recent studies have shown that stomata can play an active role in limiting bacterial invasion as part of the plant innate immune system. As a counter-defense, the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 uses the virulence factor coronatine to actively open stomata. In nature, many foliar bacterial disease outbreaks require high humidity, rain, or storms, which could favor stomatal opening and/or bypass stomatal defense by creating wounds as alternative entry sites. Further studies on microbial and environmental regulation of stomatal closure and opening could fill gaps in our understanding of bacterial pathogenesis, disease epidemiology, and microbiology of the phyllosphere.

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