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Plant Cell. 2009 Sep;21(9):2546-52. doi: 10.1105/tpc.109.069922. Epub 2009 Sep 29.

Lights, rhythms, infection: the role of light and the circadian clock in determining the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701 Cape Town, South Africa.


The importance of light with respect to the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions is becoming increasingly evident: light affects both the host response and the virulence of some pathogens. The response of plants to environmental signals and stresses is modulated by the circadian clock, and it is apparent that this may include immune responses. Photo and temporal regulation of immune responses may allow plants to anticipate and react more effectively to particular pathogen infections. These aspects of regulation are sometimes overlooked when designing experiments to understand plant-pathogen interactions, complicating the interpretation of the outcomes and the direct comparisons of studies. We review recent key findings in these areas and discuss the implications for experimental design and analyses.

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