Hypersensitive Response in Plants


The hypersensitive response (HR) in plants is a rapid and highly localized cell death that may be evoked by pathogen challenge. The HR is not a disease syndrome but is an effective, host‐regulated defence response which contributes towards the neutralization of the invading pathogen. Research into the elicitation and elaboration of the HR is a major research theme in plant biology where there is a close interaction between laboratory‐based experimental science and plant breeders in order to generate pathogen‐resistant crops.

Keywords: hypersensitive response; programmed cell death; pathogen; resistance; gene‐for‐gene

Figure 1.

A hypersensitive response elicited by tobacco mosaic virus on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Bar=1 mm. With kind permission of Anthony Pugh.

Figure 2.

Cellular browning seen with an HR in barley (Hordeum vulgare) following challenge with a powdery mildew fungal pathogen (Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei). Bar=100 mm. With kind permission of Anthony Pugh.

Figure 3.

The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during an HR in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon following challenge with the Magnaporthe grisea – the causal agent of Rice Blast. The M. grisea infection structure, the appressorium, is indicated by a red arrow. ROS are visualized by using the stain 3,3‐diaminobenzidine. Bar=10 μm. Picture from Andrew Routledge.



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Further Reading

DeYoung BJ and Innes RW (2006) Plant NBS‐LRR proteins in pathogen sensing and host defense. Nature Immunology 7: 1243–1249.

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Neill SJ, Desikan R, Clarke A, Hurst RD and Hancock JT (2002) Hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide as signalling molecules in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany 53: 1237–1247.

Van der Hoorn RAL and Jones JD (2004) The plant proteolytic machinery and its role in defence. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 7: 400–407.

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Mur, Luis AJ(Sep 2007) Hypersensitive Response in Plants. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020103]