Research Topic

Hide-and-seek: Which Impact of Pathogen Evolutionary Dynamics and Plant Natural Variability on Effector-Host Target Showdown?

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Plant diseases due to pathogen infection cause significant crop losses worldwide. To face pathogenic attacks, plants have developed sophisticated immune signaling networks. The dynamics of plant-pathogen interactions are complex. Plants recognize aggressors through perception by PRR (pattern recognition ...

Plant diseases due to pathogen infection cause significant crop losses worldwide. To face pathogenic attacks, plants have developed sophisticated immune signaling networks. The dynamics of plant-pathogen interactions are complex. Plants recognize aggressors through perception by PRR (pattern recognition receptors) of PAMPS (pathogen-associated molecular patterns) or through immune receptors called resistance genes or R genes. During the past decades, numerous R genes have been identified and their functions described, notably thanks to their direct or indirect recognition of pathogenic effectors (historically called avirulence factors). However, due to rapid and constant evolution of pathogens, the issue of the interaction is unbalanced, and such resistances are frequently overcomed.

In this context, it remains essential to determine how the cortege of highly co-evolved pathogens is able to counteract plant resistance responses. Numerous data showed that, in compatible interactions, pathogens use their secreted effectors to hijack host targets in order to facilitate their penetration, their proliferation. These last years have also seen the development of a new research area implying wide and extensive screenings and evolutionary studies. Increasing knowledge acquired in plant genomics, pathogen evolutionary status, pathogen virulence factors, and awareness of genetic and functional redundancy of these effectors demonstrate that plant-microorganism showdown leads to complex and interlinked mechanisms. Moreover, these studies are particularly challenging because natural diversity may result in a same plant target inducing resistance or susceptibility, depending on the pathogen. Considering this, it is still topical (i) to discriminate among the compatible interactions the plant targets of effectors that lead to disease, and (ii) to elucidate their functions. Indeed, gained knowledge in this area will help the emergence of new broad spectrum and sustainable sources of resistance.

Hence, with this Research Topc, we would like to make a contribution in addressing these questions, more specifically considering plant diseases due to bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, viruses or nematodes. For this, we welcome the submission of manuscripts (Original Researches, Reviews, Mini Reviews, Methods, Perspectives and Opinions) covering the following topics:

1. Research describing the identification of effector targets associated to resistance or susceptibility.
2. Research describing effector function on its target, how (i) resistance mechanisms, or (ii) disease take place; and (iii) how this knowledge could be used to design new resistance strategies.
3. Research using natural diversity to study the genetic variability of defence responses, and describing how it could help identify new effector targets.
4. Research describing host target interactions with effectors from a same pathogen or from pathogens belonging to different taxonomic kingdoms.
5. Research describing plant targets involved in both resistance and susceptibility according to the pathogen challenged.
6. Research describing techniques developed to identify new effector targets.
7. Opinions on comparative strategies used to identify effector plant targets, and on potential following applications.
8. Works proposing applications, leading to new resistances in crops.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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