Rho proteins of plants (ROPs) form a specific clade of Rho GTPases, which are involved in either plant immunity or susceptibility to diseases. They are intensively studied in grass host plants, in which ROPs are signaling hubs downstream of both cell surface immune receptor kinases and intracellular nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptors, which activate major branches of plant immune signaling. Additionally, invasive fungal pathogens may co-opt the function of ROPs for manipulation of the cytoskeleton, cell invasion and host cell developmental reprogramming, which promote pathogenic colonization. Strikingly, mammalian bacterial pathogens also initiate both effector-triggered susceptibility for cell invasion and effector-triggered immunity via Rho GTPases. In this review, we summarize central concepts of Rho signaling in disease and immunity of plants and briefly compare them to important findings in the mammalian research field. We focus on Rho activation, downstream signaling and cellular reorganization under control of Rho proteins involved in disease progression and pathogen resistance.
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