Review of innate and speciﬁc immunity in plants andanimals
Received: 19 March 2007/Accepted: 9 May 2007/Published online: 7 June 2007
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007
Innate immunity represents a trait com-mon to plants and animals, based on the recognitionof pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs)by the host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). It isgenerally assumed that a pathogen strain, or race,may have elaborated mechanisms to suppress, orevade, the PAMP-triggered immunity. Once this planwas successful, the colonization would have beencounteracted by an adaptive strategy that a plantcultivar must have evolved as a second line of defence. In this co-evolutionary context, adaptiveimmunity and host resistance (cultivar-pathogen race/ strain-speciﬁc) has been differently selected, inanimals and plants respectively, to face specializedpathogens. Notwithstanding, plant host resistance,based on matching between resistance (R) andavirulence (avr) genes, represents a form of innateimmunity, being R proteins similar to PRRs, althoughable to recognize speciﬁc virulence factors (avrproteins) rather than PAMPs. Besides, despite thelack of adaptive immunity preserved plants fromautoimmune disorders, inappropriate plant immuneresponses may occur, producing some side-effects, interms of ﬁtness costs of induced resistance andautotoxicity. A set of similar defence responsesshared from plants and animals, such as defensins,reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxylipins and pro-grammed cell death (PCD) are brieﬂy described.
Either plants and animals are capable of recognizingand distinguishing between self and non-self. How-ever, some phylogenetically ancient structures andstrategies used in defence have been retained byparallel evolution, while some others appeared morerecently during phylogenesis [1,2].
In this context, innate immunity, common to plantsand animals, deeply differs from the adaptive one,which is restricted to vertebrates. Plants, lackingimmunoglobulin molecules, circulating immune cellsand phagocytic processes, do not possess any adap-tive immunity, despite an array of innate defencemechanisms. Innate immunity can be considered as abattery of ﬁrst-line defences against microbes, thatpre-exists pathogen challenging and adaptive immu-nity triggering in animals .Recognition of PAMPs (pathogen associatedmolecular patterns) represents the major trait of innate immunity common to plants and animals,
M. Iriti (
F. FaoroPlant Pathology Institute, University of Milan,Via Celoria 2, Milan 20133, Italye-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgM. Iriti
F. FaoroCNR, Plant Virology Institute, U.O. Milan, Italy
Mycopathologia (2007) 164:57–64DOI 10.1007/s11046-007-9026-7