Plants must co-exist with both pathogenic and beneficial microbes. Antimicrobial peptides with broad antimicrobial activities represent one of the first lines of defense against pathogens. Many plant cysteine-rich peptides with potential antimicrobial properties have been predicted. Amongst them, defensins and defensin-like peptides are the most abundant and plants can express several hundreds of them. In some rhizobial-legume symbioses special defensin-like peptides, the nodule-specific cysteine-rich (NCR) peptides have evolved in those legumes whose symbiotic partner terminally differentiates. In Medicago truncatula, >700 NCRs exist and collectively act as plant effectors inducing irreversible differentiation of rhizobia to nitrogen-fixing bacteroids. Cationic NCR peptides have a broad range of potent antimicrobial activities but do not kill the endosymbionts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science