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Jakob Eriksson Prize Oration - "From elicitors to effector-assisted disease resistance breeding"

Pierre J. G. M. De Wit: Wageningen University

<div><span>Fungi can cause serious diseases on natural vegetation and crops. The majority of plants, however, are not infected by fungal pathogens as they recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) like chitin, glucans or (glycol) peptides (called elicitors in the past) through pattern recognition receptors that mediate PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI), a basal defense response effective against potential fungal pathogens. Successful fungal plant pathogens secrete effectors to suppress PTI and alter host physiology enabling them to infect plants. In turn, plants have evolved immune receptors that recognize effectors resulting in effector-triggered immunity (ETI) including the hypersensitive response, effective against biotrophic fungal plant pathogens that require living cells to feed on. Co-evolution between fungal pathogens and their hosts has led to the development of numerous effectors in fungal plant pathogens and corresponding resistance proteins in host plants, which has generated an arms race genetically described by the gene-for-gene concept. Resistance genes encoding resistance proteins have now been cloned and are successfully transferred to crop plants by classical breeding or as transgenes stapled into one plant cultivar. In my talk I will give a short historic overview of how paradigms have changed in molecular plant-microbe interaction research.</span></div>

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