Published article

Barley's Battle Against Powdery Mildew: The Cell Wall's Role in Plant Defense

Imagine a world where plants are constantly under siege. Tiny invaders, in the form of fungal pathogens, are constantly lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to strike. But plants are not defenseless. They have a secret weapon, a barrier that keeps the invaders at bay. This barrier is called the cell wall, and it's made up of a complex mix of waxes, lipids, polysaccharides, proteins, lignin, and antimicrobial compounds. It's a multi-layered defense system that plays a crucial role in protecting the plant from harm.

One example of this type of defense system is the biotrophic interaction between barley and the causal agent of powdery mildew, Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh). This fungus invades the barley plant by penetrating the cell wall, but the plant fights back with various passive and active defense responses. The cell wall is constantly changing, adapting to the needs of the plant in real-time, and making it harder for the fungus to gain a foothold.

In this review, we take a closer look at the cell wall, and how it defends the plant against the biotrophic invaders.

Author: Jamil Chowdhury

1 December 2019.

Figure: Overcoming the host defence barrier in Bgh–barley interaction. Pathogen infection strategies are stated inside the circle and plant defence responses are stated in grey boxes outside the circle.

Find out our article summarizing our current understanding of multi-layered plant defence system against biotrophic fungal pathogen publised in Annual Plant reviews.