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Understanding the Plant Immune System

December 2010 , Volume 23 , Number  12
Pages  1,531 - 1,536

Fumiaki Katagiri and Kenichi Tsuda

Department of Plant Biology, Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute, University of Minnesota, 1500 Gortner Ave., St. Paul 55108, U.S.A.

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Accepted 12 July 2010.

Plant immunity is controlled by a complex signaling network. Here, we discuss how the complexity of the network affects our views and approaches in studying the plant immune network. We propose that the mode of plant immunity is mainly determined by how the shared signaling network is used rather than by a signaling machinery specific to each mode, that balancing the robustness of immunity and the negative effect of immunity on plant fitness is a key driver in evolution of the immune network, that comparisons of plant mutant to wild-type phenotypes may not be very effective in elucidating the underlying signaling mechanisms, and that mechanistic understanding of the network can improve our ability to predict the performance of immunity.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society