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Journal of Plant Physiology
Vol. 172, 2015, Pages: 4–12

Bacteria and fungi controlling plant growth by manipulating auxin: Balance between development and defense ?

Jutta Ludwig-Müller

Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Botanik, 01062 Dresden, Germany.


Plant diseases cause huge losses by changing the quality and quantity of harvested crops. Many disease symptoms caused by bacteria or fungi rely on the involvement of plant hormones, while other plant hormones act as defense signals in the plant. In this review the role of auxins in these processes will be evaluated. Some growth promoting plant hormones cause disease symptoms. For example auxins stimulate cell division and cell elongation in a healthy plant, but tumor formation after bacterial infection. Thus, control of auxin levels and auxin signaling pathways significantly contribute to the defense network in plants. Auxin can also act directly as defense molecule with antimicrobial activity. Since much research has been done in the recent years on auxin as a pathogenicity factor for many diseases, several examples will be presented to highlight the complexity between normal plant growth, which is regulated by auxin, and processes determining resistance or susceptibility, triggered by the same class of molecules.

Keywords: Auxin homeostasis; Auxin signaling; Defense; Plant disease; Resistance.

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