Challenging battles of plants with phloem-feeding insects and prokaryotic pathogens.
For the past 4 decades, intensive molecular studies of mostly leaf mesophyll cell-infecting pathogens and chewing insects have led to compelling models of plant-pathogen and plant-insect interactions. Yet, some of the most devastating pathogens and insect pests live in or feed on the phloem, a systemic tissue belonging to the plant vascular system. Phloem tissues are difficult to study, and phloem-inhabiting pathogens are often impossible to culture, thus limiting our understanding of phloem-insect/pathogen interactions at a molecular level. In this Perspective, we highlight recent literature that reports significant advances in the understanding of phloem interactions with insects and prokaryotic pathogens and attempt to identify critical questions that need attention for future research. It is clear that study of phloem-insect/pathogen interactions represents an exciting frontier of plant science, and influx of new scientific expertise and funding is crucial to achieve faster progress in this important area of research that is integral to global food security.
Jiang, Y; Zhang, C-X; Chen, R; He, SY
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