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  • 1 Plant Protection Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1525 Budapest, P.O. Box 102, Hungary
  • 2 Plant Protection Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1525 Budapest, P.O. Box 102, Hungary
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One of the most typical and best studied type of plant resistance is the hypersensitive response (HR), a form of localized programmed cell death associated with restriction or even killing of pathogens that often leads to macroscopically visible localized tissue necrosis. It is generally assumed that cell death and resistance within the HR are physiologically and genetically linked. However, there has been considerable speculation about whether cell death is an absolute requirement for resistance conditioned by the HR. This review discusses the relation of cell death and resistance in the HR, in particular, the importance of cell death in this process. We intend to focus on the increasing amount of research evidence showing that in several plant-pathogen interactions, the two main components of the HR-resistance and cell death-can be physiologically, genetically and temporally uncoupled. In other words, HR should be considered as a combination of resistance and cell death responses, where cell death may be dispensable for the plant resistance response. The varying contribution of these two components (i.e. cell death and resistance) generates an array of defense strategies - ranging from extreme resistance to“systemic HR”- applied by resistant host plants in the battle against pathogen infections.

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