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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(3), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030810

Tolerance to Plant Pathogens: Theory and Experimental Evidence

Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (UPM-INIA) and E.T.S. Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28223 Madrid, Spain
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Received: 27 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Defense Genes Against Biotic Stresses)
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Abstract

The two major mechanisms of plant defense against pathogens are resistance (the host’s ability to limit pathogen multiplication) and tolerance (the host’s ability to reduce the effect of infection on its fitness regardless of the level of pathogen multiplication). There is abundant literature on virtually every aspect of plant resistance to pathogens. Although tolerance to plant pathogens is comparatively less understood, studies on this plant defense strategy have led to major insights into its evolution, mechanistic basis and genetic determinants. This review aims at summarizing current theories and experimental evidence on the evolutionary causes and consequences of plant tolerance to pathogens, as well as the existing knowledge on the genetic determinants and mechanisms of tolerance. Our review reveals that (i) in plant-pathogen systems, resistance and tolerance generally coexist, i.e., are not mutually exclusive; (ii) evidence of tolerance polymorphisms is abundant regardless of the pathogen considered; (iii) tolerance is an efficient strategy to reduce the damage on the infected host; and (iv) there is no evidence that tolerance results in increased pathogen multiplication. Taken together, the work discussed in this review indicates that tolerance may be as important as resistance in determining the dynamics of plant-pathogen interactions. Several aspects of plant tolerance to pathogens that still remain unclear and which should be explored in the future, are also outlined. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant defense responses; tolerance to plant pathogens; range and point tolerance; tolerance mechanisms to pathogens plant defense responses; tolerance to plant pathogens; range and point tolerance; tolerance mechanisms to pathogens
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Pagán, I.; García-Arenal, F. Tolerance to Plant Pathogens: Theory and Experimental Evidence. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 810.

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