Plant Immunity: Thinking Outside and Inside the Box

Aranka M. van der Burgh, Matthieu H.A.J. Joosten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Models are extensively used to describe the coevolution of plants and microbial attackers. Such models distinguish between different classes of plant immune responses, based on the type of danger signal that is recognized or on the strength of the defense response that the danger signal provokes. However, recent molecular and biochemical advances have shown that these dichotomies are blurred. With molecular proof in hand, we propose here to abandon the current classification of plant immune responses, and to define the different forms of plant immunity solely based on the site of microbe recognition – either extracellular or intracellular. Using this spatial partition, our ‘spatial immunity model’ facilitates a broadly inclusive, but clearly distinguishing nomenclature to describe immune signaling in plant–microbe interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • danger signal
  • effector-triggered immunity
  • extracellular immunogenic pattern
  • intracellular immunogenic pattern
  • pattern-triggered immunity
  • plant immunity
  • spatial immunity model


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