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An Overview of Plant Immunity

Doughari JH

The exposure of plants in open land and to various harsh environmental conditions means that they are at risk of being attacked by different types of microbial pathogens. For survival strategies, the plants interact with microbes in different ways, many of whom result in disease conditions. Because plants are sessile, it means that they must continuously integrate both biotic and abiotic signals from the environment which also means they must be able to distinguish those signals that are harmless from those that are potentially harmful. Consequently, plants have evolved a variety of adaptive mechanisms that provides them with basal immune natural protective measures to fight against these microbial pathogens, pests and other vertebrate diseases. Recognition of these pathogens is made possible by certain group of physiological elicitors that activates microbial or pathogen recognition proteins (MAMPs or PAMPs) of the basal immunity that enables the plant to recognize the invading pathogens. However, because the plant immune system lack circulating cells such as antibodies and macrophages of animals, the signal responses are partitioned both locally over several cell diameters and systemically in a limited sphere. Adequate understanding of the cell signaling mechanisms and the role of hormones in disease resistance will assist in developing a very effective control measure against plant diseases for more productive agricultural turn over.