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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01171

A role for zinc in plant defense against pathogens and herbivores

  • 1University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 2Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Pests and diseases pose a threat to food security, which is nowadays aggravated by climate change and globalization. In this context, agricultural policies demand innovative approaches to more effectively manage resources and overcome the ecological issues raised by intensive farming. Optimization of plant mineral nutrition is a sustainable approach to ameliorate crop health and yield. Zinc is a micronutrient essential for all living organisms with a key role in growth, development and defense. Competition for Zn affects the outcome of the host-attacker interaction in both plant and animal systems.
In this review we provide a clear framework of the different strategies involving low and high Zn concentrations launched by plants to fight their enemies. After briefly introducing the most relevant macro and micronutrients for plant defense, the functions of Zn in plant protection are summarized with especial emphasis on superoxide dismutases (SODs) and zinc finger proteins. Following, we cover recent meaningful studies identifying Zn-related passive and active mechanisms for plant protection. Finally, Zn-based strategies evolved by pathogens and pests to counteract plant defenses are discussed.

Keywords: Plant enemies, zinc deprivation, Zinc toxicity, Zinc hyperaccumulation, Zn-triggered organic defenses

Received: 15 Jan 2019; Accepted: 27 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Cabot, Martos, Llugany, Gallego, Tolrà and Poschenrieder. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Catalina Cabot, University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, ccabot@uib.es