Elicitors are molecules that stimulate any of a number of defense responses in plants. Research over the past decade has focused on the mechanisms by which plant cells perceive and transduce these biological signals to activate defense responses. Of particular interest has been the identification of specific elicitor-binding proteins that might function as physiological receptors in the signal transduction cascade. The existence of specific high-affinity binding sites has been demonstrated for oligosaccharide, glycopeptide, and peptide elicitors, and candidate elicitor-binding proteins have been identified for several of them. The properties of these binding sites/proteins are consistent with those expected of physiologically important receptors, although experimental verification of the role of these binding proteins as receptors has not yet been obtained. The purification and characterization of specific elicitor-binding proteins is essential for a detailed understanding of the molecular basis for the signal exchange between plant hosts and microbial pathogens that leads to activation of host defenses.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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