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Open AccessReview

Unravelling the Roles of Nitrogen Nutrition in Plant Disease Defences

Jiangsu Provincial Key Lab of Solid Organic Waste Utilization, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Solid Organic Wastes, Educational Ministry Engineering Center of Resource-saving fertilizers, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Jiangsu Key Laboratory for the Research and Utilization of Plant Resources, Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210014, China
Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth SY23 3DA, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 572;
Received: 10 December 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 13 January 2020 / Published: 16 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Innate Immunity 3.0)
Nitrogen (N) is one of the most important elements that has a central impact on plant growth and yield. N is also widely involved in plant stress responses, but its roles in host-pathogen interactions are complex as each affects the other. In this review, we summarize the relationship between N nutrition and plant disease and stress its importance for both host and pathogen. From the perspective of the pathogen, we describe how N can affect the pathogen’s infection strategy, whether necrotrophic or biotrophic. N can influence the deployment of virulence factors such as type III secretion systems in bacterial pathogen or contribute nutrients such as gamma-aminobutyric acid to the invader. Considering the host, the association between N nutrition and plant defence is considered in terms of physical, biochemical and genetic mechanisms. Generally, N has negative effects on physical defences and the production of anti-microbial phytoalexins but positive effects on defence-related enzymes and proteins to affect local defence as well as systemic resistance. N nutrition can also influence defence via amino acid metabolism and hormone production to affect downstream defence-related gene expression via transcriptional regulation and nitric oxide (NO) production, which represents a direct link with N. Although the critical role of N nutrition in plant defences is stressed in this review, further work is urgently needed to provide a comprehensive understanding of how opposing virulence and defence mechanisms are influenced by interacting networks. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogen; plant disease; physical; biochemical; molecular; disease defence nitrogen; plant disease; physical; biochemical; molecular; disease defence
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Sun, Y.; Wang, M.; Mur, L.A.J.; Shen, Q.; Guo, S. Unravelling the Roles of Nitrogen Nutrition in Plant Disease Defences. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 572.

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