Plants and pathogens have evolved together in a continuing "arms race." Pathogens have evolved mechanisms with which to attack plants, and plants have evolved mechanisms for defending themselves against pathogens. Each set of mechanisms uses information from the other. For example, the pathogen's enzymes may break down the plant's cell walls, and the breakdown products may sig-
Calling In an Air Strike As caterpillars of the corn earworm moth (Helicoverpa zea) munch through the plant's leaves, they may trigger a series of reactions in the plant that can end in the attraction of other insects that will attack the caterpillar.
nal to the plant that it is under attack. In turn, the plant's defenses alert the pathogen that it is under attack.
What determines the outcome of a battle between a plant and a pathogen? The key to success for the plant is to respond to the information from the pathogen quickly and massively. Plants use both mechanical and chemical defenses in this effort.
Was this article helpful?
This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.