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Trends Plant Sci. 2012 May;17(5):250-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2012.01.003. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Role of phytohormones in insect-specific plant reactions.

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Root-Herbivore Interactions Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knöll-Str. 8, 07745 Jena, Germany.


The capacity to perceive and respond is integral to biological immune systems, but to what extent can plants specifically recognize and respond to insects? Recent findings suggest that plants possess surveillance systems that are able to detect general patterns of cellular damage as well as highly specific herbivore-associated cues. The jasmonate (JA) pathway has emerged as the major signaling cassette that integrates information perceived at the plant-insect interface into broad-spectrum defense responses. Specificity can be achieved via JA-independent processes and spatio-temporal changes of JA-modulating hormones, including ethylene (ET), salicylic acid (SA), abscisic acid (ABA), auxin, cytokinins (CK), brassinosteroids (BR) and gibberellins (GB). The identification of receptors and ligands and an integrative view of hormone-mediated response systems are crucial to understand specificity in plant immunity to herbivores.

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