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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2011;49:533-55. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-073009-114436.

Water relations in the interaction of foliar bacterial pathogens with plants.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3211, USA.


This review examines the many ways in which water influences the relations between foliar bacterial pathogens and plants. As a limited resource in aerial plant tissues, water is subject to manipulation by both plants and pathogens. A model is emerging that suggests that plants actively promote localized desiccation at the infection site and thus restrict pathogen growth as one component of defense. Similarly, many foliar pathogens manipulate water relations as one component of pathogenesis. Nonvascular pathogens do this using effectors and other molecules to alter hormonal responses and enhance intercellular watersoaking, whereas vascular pathogens use many mechanisms to cause wilt. Because of water limitations on phyllosphere surfaces, bacterial colonists, including pathogens, benefit from the protective effects of cellular aggregation, synthesis of hygroscopic polymers, and uptake and production of osmoprotective compounds. Moreover, these bacteria employ tactics for scavenging and distributing water to overcome water-driven barriers to nutrient acquisition, movement, and signal exchange on plant surfaces.

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