By Arthur Cronquist

-- "Natural History"

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The cytolytic activity of NLPs and the broad spectrum of NLP-sensitive plants imply that these proteins are microbial toxins with immunostimulating potential. Elucidation of the 3D structure of a Pythium aphanidermatum NLP (C. U. Seitz, personal communication) and the computational modelling of additional NLP folds revealed a high degree of structural conservation between prokaryotic and eukaryotic NLPs. Moreover, NLP structures resemble proteinaceous cytolytic toxins, named actinoporins. Actinoporins bind to lipid docking sites in animal host target membranes, insert into membranes, form ion-conducting pores and subsequently lyse the target cells (Parker and Feil, 2005).

NLPs further disrupt plasma membrane vesicles prepared from dicot plants, but not those from monocot plants, indicating that an intact cell is not required for NLP-induced cell death (our unpublished data). Altogether these findings suggest that NLP-induced cell death is a disease symptom rather than a plant defence response. The cytolytic activity of NLPs and the broad spectrum of NLP-sensitive plants imply that these proteins are microbial toxins with immunostimulating potential. Elucidation of the 3D structure of a Pythium aphanidermatum NLP (C.

1994) Cellodextrins Plant cell wall cellulose Plant cuticle Oligomers Grapevine Dodecan-1-ol Cucumber, tomato, apple Aziz et al. (2007) Fauth et al. (1998) Cutin monomers Granado et al. (1995) Koga et al. (1998) counter-defence in multicellular eukaryotes and highlighted the importance of elicitor recognition in plant immunity. This had been long awaited because evidence for a causal link between elicitor-induced plant responses and plant disease resistance was still lacking. The term PAMP is really a misnomer because such structures are not only present on pathogenic microbes, but also found in non-pathogenic microorganisms (Ausubel, 2005).

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