How plants recognize pathogens and defend themselves

P.J.G.M. de Wit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Plants have an innate immunity system to defend themselves against pathogens. With the primary immune system, plants recognize microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) of potential pathogens through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that mediate a basal defense response. Plant pathogens suppress this basal defense response by means of effectors that enable them to cause disease. With the secondary immune system, plants have gained the ability to recognize effector-induced perturbations of host targets through resistance proteins (RPs) that mediate a strong local defense response that stops pathogen growth. Both primary and secondary immune responses in plants depend on germ line-encoded PRRs and RPs. During induction of local immune responses, systemic immune responses also become activated, which predispose plants to become more resistant to subsequent pathogen attacks. This review gives an update on recent findings that have enhanced our understanding of plant innate immunity and the arms race between plants and their pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2726-2732
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • receptor-like proteins
  • pseudomonas-syringae
  • innate immunity
  • disease-resistance
  • flagellin perception
  • molecular-patterns
  • signaling pathway
  • effector proteins
  • bacterial disease
  • avirulence genes


Dive into the research topics of 'How plants recognize pathogens and defend themselves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this