Tuning the wavelength: Manipulation of light signaling to control plant defense

Susan Breen, Hazel McLellan, Paul R. J. Birch, Eleanor M. Gilroy (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


The growth-defense trade-off in plants is a phenomenon whereby plants must balance the allocation of their resources between developmental growth and defense against attack by pests and pathogens. Consequently, there are a series of points where growth signaling can negatively regulate defenses and where defense signaling can inhibit growth. Light perception by various photoreceptors has a major role in the control of growth and thus many points where it can influence defense. Plant pathogens secrete effector proteins to manipulate defense signaling in their hosts. Evidence is emerging that some of these effectors target light signaling pathways. Several effectors from different kingdoms of life have converged on key chloroplast processes to take advantage of regulatory crosstalk. Moreover, plant pathogens also perceive and react to light in complex ways to regulate their own growth, development, and virulence. Recent work has shown that varying light wavelengths may provide a novel way of controlling or preventing disease outbreaks in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3803
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2023


  • Plants/metabolism
  • Light Signal Transduction
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence
  • Chloroplasts
  • Plant Diseases
  • Plant Immunity
  • signaling
  • pathogen effectors
  • immunity
  • pathogenicity
  • light
  • plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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