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Plant Cell. 2011 Jun;23(6):2405-21. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.083394. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

Botrytis cinerea manipulates the antagonistic effects between immune pathways to promote disease development in tomato.

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Centre de Recherche en Amélioration Végétale, Département de Biologie, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec J1K 2R1, Canada.


Plants have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to sense and respond to pathogen attacks. Resistance against necrotrophic pathogens generally requires the activation of the jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway, whereas the salicylic acid (SA) signaling pathway is mainly activated against biotrophic pathogens. SA can antagonize JA signaling and vice versa. Here, we report that the necrotrophic pathogen Botrytis cinerea exploits this antagonism as a strategy to cause disease development. We show that B. cinerea produces an exopolysaccharide, which acts as an elicitor of the SA pathway. In turn, the SA pathway antagonizes the JA signaling pathway, thereby allowing the fungus to develop its disease in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). SA-promoted disease development occurs through Nonexpressed Pathogen Related1. We also show that the JA signaling pathway required for tomato resistance against B. cinerea is mediated by the systemin elicitor. These data highlight a new strategy used by B. cinerea to overcome the plant's defense system and to spread within the host.

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