29 September 2019

Functional linkages between amino acid transporters and plant responses to pathogens

Sonawala, U., Dinkeloo, K., Danna, C. H., McDowell, J. M., Pilot, G - Plant Science, 2019


Upon infection, plant pathogens become dependent on their hosts for nutrition. Therefore, the interaction between the two organisms is tightly linked to the availability and flux of nutrients in the plant. The plant’s nitrogen metabolism is reprogrammed during pathogen attack, likely reflecting plant’s response to invasion by the pathogen and active modification by the pathogen to promote feeding. Several lines of evidence indicate that plant-derived amino acids are an important source of nitrogen for diverse pathogens. Moreover, amino acid homeostasis is interconnected with the plant’s immune signaling pathways. Here, we critically examine the knowns and unknowns about connections between plant-encoded amino acid transporters and resistance or susceptibility to pathogens and pests. We use recent insights into sugar transporters to frame a perspective with potential applicability to amino acids and other nutrients. We emphasize different approaches that have provided insight in this topic and we conclude with suggestions to fill gaps in foundational knowledge and explore new avenues for disease control.

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