Role of plant stomata in bacterial invasion

Authors


*E-mail hes@msu.edu; Tel. (+1) 517 353 9181; Fax (+1) 517 353 9168.

Summary

Stomata are microscopic pores in the epidermis of the aerial parts of terrestrial plants. These pores are essential for photosynthesis, as they allow CO2 to diffuse into the plant. The size of the stomatal pore changes in response to environmental conditions, such as light intensity, air humidity and CO2 concentrations, as part of the plant's adaptation to maximize photosynthetic efficiency and, at the same time, to minimize water loss. Historically, stomata have been considered as passive portal of entry for plant pathogenic bacteria. However, recent studies suggest that stomata can play an active role in restricting bacterial invasion as part of the plant innate immune system. Some plant pathogens have evolved specific virulence factors to overcome stomata-based defence. Interestingly, many bacterial disease outbreaks require high humidity, rain, or frost damage, which could promote stomatal opening and/or bypass stomatal defence by creating wounds as alternative entry sites. Further studies on microbial and environmental regulation of stomata-based defence should fill gaps in our understanding of bacterial pathogenesis, disease epidemiology and phyllosphere microbiology.

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