Iron is essential for metabolic processes in most living organisms. Pathogens and their hosts often compete for the acquisition of this nutrient. However, iron can catalyze the formation of deleterious reactive oxygen species. Hosts may use iron to increase local oxidative stress in defense responses against pathogens. Due to this duality, iron plays a complex role in plant-pathogen interactions. Plant defenses against pathogens and plant response to iron deficiency share several features, such as secretion of phenolic compounds, and use common hormone signaling pathways. Moreover, fine tuning of iron localization during infection involves genes coding iron transport and iron storage proteins, which have been shown to contribute to immunity. The influence of the plant iron status on the outcome of a given pathogen attack is strongly dependent on the nature of the pathogen infection strategy and on the host species. Microbial siderophores emerged as important factors as they have the ability to trigger plant defense responses. Depending on the plant species, siderophore perception can be mediated by their strong iron scavenging capacity or possibly via specific recognition as pathogen associated molecular patterns.
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