Research Topic

Wound recognition across the tree of life

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All multicellular organisms must detect injury to mount adequate responses. Plants respond with induced resistance, animals with local immunity and regeneration, and fungi exhibit wound-induced conidiation. Intact cells perceive damage-associated molecular patters (DAMPs) in the extracellular space as 'danger ...

All multicellular organisms must detect injury to mount adequate responses. Plants respond with induced resistance, animals with local immunity and regeneration, and fungi exhibit wound-induced conidiation. Intact cells perceive damage-associated molecular patters (DAMPs) in the extracellular space as 'danger signals' to recognise damage before infection occurs. Molecules such as extracellular ATP and fragments of the cell wall or the extra- or intracellular matrix function as DAMPs in organisms across different kingdoms. All these DAMPs represent fragments of larger molecules or intracellular molecules. Thus, their occurrence in the extracellular space indicates the presence of damaged cells. This model, originally promoted by immunologist Polly Matzinger as the 'danger model', becomes increasingly accepted in biology: plants, fungi, algae and insects perceive their own molecular signals that indicate the 'damaged self'. Toll-like receptors and leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain kinases serve as DAMP receptors and reactive oxygen species, Ca2+-fluxes, action potentials, MAP kinases and prostaglandin/octadecanoid-like hormones control the signalling cascades in organisms across the entire tree of life. In this Research Topic, we solicit papers reporting recent findings on DAMP signalling from algae to humans to promote interdisciplinary research into shared phenomena in wound recognition and the underlying mechanisms.


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