J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2016, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (4): 299-311.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12445

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From filaments to function: The role of the plant actin cytoskeleton in pathogen perception, signaling and immunity

Katie Porter1 and Brad Day1,2,3*   

  1. 1Graduate Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
    2Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
    3Graduate Program in Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
  • Received:2015-09-04 Accepted:2015-10-28 Published:2016-04-11
  • About author:*Correspondence: E-mail: bday@msu.edu


The eukaryotic actin cytoskeleton is required for numerous cellular processes, including cell shape, development and movement, gene expression and signal transduction, and response to biotic and abiotic stress. In recent years, research in both plants and animal systems have described a function for actin as the ideal surveillance platform, linking the function and activity of primary physiological processes to the immune system. In this review, we will highlight recent advances that have defined the regulation and breadth of function of the actin cytoskeleton as a network required for defense signaling following pathogen infection. Coupled with an overview of recent work demonstrating specific targeting of the plant actin cytoskeleton by a diversity of pathogens, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, we will highlight the importance of actin as a key signaling hub in plants, one that mediates surveillance of cellular homeostasis and the activation of specific signaling responses following pathogen perception. Based on the studies highlighted herein, we propose a working model that posits changes in actin filament organization is in and of itself a highly specific signal, which induces, regulates and physically directs stimulus-specific signaling processes, most importantly, those associated with response to pathogens.

Key words: Actin, cytoskeleton, immunity, pathogen, plant, Pseudomonas syringae, surveillance

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