Scaling-up to understand tree-pathogen interactions: a steep, tough climb or a walk in the park?

Mojgan Rabiey, Thomas Welch, Rosa Sanchez-Lucas, Katie Stevens, Mark Raw, Graeme J Kettles, Marco Catoni, Megan C McDonald, Robert W Jackson, Estrella Luna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Plants have proficient tools that allow them to survive interactions with pathogens. Upon attack, they respond with specific countermeasures, which are controlled by the immune system. However, defences can fail and this failure exposes plants to fast-spreading devastation. Trees face similar challenges to other plants and their immune system allows them to mount defences against pathogens. However, their slow growth, longevity, woodiness, and size can make trees a challenging system to study. Here, we review scientific successes in plant systems, highlight the key challenges and describe the enormous opportunities for pathology research in trees. We discuss the benefits that scaling-up our understanding on tree-pathogen interactions can provide in the fight against plant pathogenic threats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102229
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in plant biology
Early online date11 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship BB/P00556X/2 to EL and the UKRI grant “MEMBRA” NE/V021346/1 to EL and MC. RWJ is supported by BBSRC grants BB/R014884/1 and BB/P006272/1 and UKRI, Defra, and the Scottish Government, under the Strategic Priorities Fund Plant Bacterial Diseases programme (BB/T010568/1), supporting Mojgan Rabiey and R.W.J.. We thank the JABBS Foundation for their financial support to the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research and all the authors in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Crops
  • Model plants
  • Plant pathogens
  • Trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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