Glycoconjugates as elicitors or suppressors of plant innate immunity

Alba Silipo, Gitte Erbs, Tomonori Shinya, J. M. Maxwell Dow, Michelangelo Parrilli, Rosa Lanzetta, Naoto Shibuya, Mari Anne Newman, Antonio Molinaro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Innate immunity is the first line of defense against invading microorganisms in vertebrates and the only line of defense in invertebrates and plants. Bacterial glycoconjugates, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and peptidoglycan (PGN) from the cell walls of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and fungal and oomycete glycoconjugates such as oligosaccharides derived from the cell wall components β-glucan, chitin and chitosan, have been found to act as elicitors of plant innate immunity. These conserved indispensable microbe-specific molecules are also referred to as microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). Other glycoconjugates such as bacterial extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and cyclic glucan have been shown to suppress innate immune responses, thus conversely promoting pathogenesis. MAMPs are recognized by the plant innate immune system though the action of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). A greater insight into the mechanisms of MAMP recognition and the description of PRRs for different microbial glycoconjugates will have considerable impact on the improvement of plant health and disease resistance. Here we review the current knowledge about the bacterial MAMPs LPS and PGN, the fungal MAMPs β-glucan, chitin and chitosan oligosaccharides and the bacterial suppressors EPS and cyclic glucan, with particular reference to the chemical structures of these molecules, the PRRs involved in their recognition (where these have been defined), and possible mechanisms underlying suppression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercwp201
Pages (from-to)406-419
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 17 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Glycomics
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • MAMPs
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Plant innate immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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