Plant Immunity Strategies Against Microbial Pathogen Infection



Carmen Castresana

Group Leader



Research summary

Over the last years, we concentrate our interest in examining the activities in plant immunity of oxylipins, a family of lipid derivatives activating immune responses in plants. Our research has revealed that oxylipins produced by the biosynthetic pathways initiated by fatty acid alpha-dioxygenases (alpha-DOXs) and 9-lipoxygenases (9-LOXs) activate previously unknown immune responses protecting plants against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst DC3000). In this response both enzymes collaborate to achieve full resistance against virulent strains participating in the three layers of defense -pre-invasion, apoplastic and systemic defense- triggered by plants against this type of pathogens. We have identified the oxylipins produced by these pathways and tested their activity. The investigation of these responses indicated that formation of lipid droplets, organelle coordination and communication, and translational regulation are critical processes to activate a robust immune response and that oxylipins are involved in these responses allowing plant survival.



López Sánchez A, Hernández Luelmo S, Izquierdo Y, López B, Cascón T, Castresana C. Mitochondrial Stress Induces Plant Resistance Through Chromatin Changes. Front Plant Sci. 2021 Sep 22;12:704964. eCollection 2021.

Izquierdo Y, Muñiz L, Vicente J, Kulasekaran S, Aguilera V, López Sánchez A, Martínez-Ayala A, López B, Cascón T, Castresana C. Oxylipins From Different Pathways Trigger Mitochondrial Stress Signaling Through Respiratory Complex III. Front. Plant Sci., 29 July 2021

Izquierdo Y, Fernández-Santos R, Cascón T & Castresana C. Lipid droplet isolation from Arabidopsis thaliana leaves. Bio-protocol 2020; 10: e3867–e3867.

Fernández-Santos R, Izquierdo Y, López A, Muñiz L, Martínez M, et al. Protein profiles of lipid droplets during the hypersensitive defense response of Arabidopsis against Pseudomonas infection. Plant Cell Physiol 2020; 61: 1144–1157

Wilkinson SW, Magerøy MH, López Sánchez A, Smith LM, Furci L, et al. Surviving in a hostile world: plant strategies to resist pests and diseases. Annu Rev Phytopathol 2019; 57: 505–529.

Vicente J, Mendiondo GM, Pauwels J, Pastor P, Izquierdo Y, et al. Distinct branches of the N-end rule pathway modulate the plant immune response. New Phytologist 2019; 221: 988-1000.


In our studies, we have increased our knowledge on the role of alpha-DOX and 9-LOX oxylipin pathways as well as of the products synthesized through them in the defense mechanisms activated by Arabidopsis following infection by hemibiotrophic bacteria.

We found alpha-dioxygenases in lipid droplets (LDs) which are formed after bacterial infection and that LDs participate in the production and transport of defense components affecting the interaction of plants with invading pathogens.

Studies with two members of the 9‑LOX oxylipin pathway, 9-HOT (9(S)-hydroxy-10,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid) and its ketone derivative 9-KOT, indicated that these oxylipins contribute to plant resistance by activating expression of defense-related genes and regulating hormone homeostasis (Ethylene, ABA, and Brassinoesteroids). Further examination of oxylipin action indicated that 9-HOT and 9-KOT act in the mitochondria causing mitochondrial aggregation and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. The application of 9-HOT or 9-KOT does not alter mitochondrial respiration rates. Instead, they trigger a mitochondrial stress response by enhancing ROS production of respiratory complex III. We showed that induction of mitochondrial stress by exogenous application of AA in Arabidopsis activates plant resistance against different types of pathogens thus, supporting the contribution of mitochondrial stress to plant defense.

We isolated 9-HOT- and 9-KOT-insensitive mutants (noxy mutants, for non-responding to oxylipins). Among noxy mutants characterized, 8 mutations were located in NOXY genes encoding mitochondrial proteins or proteins functionally related with these organelles, thus supporting the role of mitochondria in 9-LOX signaling [57-59]. However, not all NOXY genes characterized encoded mitochondrial proteins. Thus, noxy22/ctr1 and noxy6/eto1 are located at the CTR1 (CONSTITUTIVE ETHYLENE RESPONSE1) and ETO1 (ETHYLENE OVERPRODUCER1) loci, encoding components of the ET signaling pathway with ER (Endoplasmic reticulum) and cytosolic localization, respectively. Moreover, NOXY7 encodes a homolog of the yeast translational regulator GENERAL CONTROL NON-DEREPRESSIBLE1 (GCN1) with cytosolic localization. In these studies we found that the translation of specific transcripts must play a role in plant immunity and that oxylipins may participate in the regulation of this response.

  2021 Castresana fig1

Figure Legend. Working model: Intracellular signaling process leading to plant defence and priming of immune responses. After a pathogen attack there is an intracellular increment in oxylipin production followed by disruption of mitochondrial function. The induced mitochondrial stress leads into epigenetic changes, which modify the inducibility of defence related genes, mediating a long-lasting resistance phenotype.


Carmen Castresana Principal investigator
Yovanny Izquierdo Postdoctoral scientist
Brán López Postdoctoral scientist
Tomas Cascón Technician

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you continue browsing or do not change browser settings, we consider your acepptance for using. Learn more

I understand


A cookie is a text file that is stored on your computer or mobile device via a web server and only that server will be able to retrieve or read the contents of the cookie and allow the Web site remember browser preferences and navigate efficiently. Cookies make the interaction between the user and the website faster and easier.

General information

This Website uses cookies. Cookies are small text files generated by the web pages you visit, which contain the session data that can be useful later in the website. In this way this Web remembers information about your visit, which can facilitate your next visit and make the website more useful.

How do cookies?

Cookies can only store text, usually always anonymous and encrypted. No personal information is ever stored in a cookie, or can be associated with identified or identifiable person.

The data allow this website to keep your information between the pages, and also to discuss how to interact with the website. Cookies are safe because they can only store information that is put there by the browser, which is information the user entered in the browser or included in the page request. You can not run the code and can not be used to access your computer. If a website encrypts cookie data, only the website can read the information.

What types of cookies used?

The cookies used by this website can be distinguished by the following criteria:

1. Types of cookies as the entity that manages:

Depending on who the entity operating the computer or domain where cookies are sent and treat the data obtained, we can distinguish:

- Own cookies: are those that are sent to the user's terminal equipment from a computer or domain managed by the editor itself and from which provides the service requested by the user.

- Third party cookies: these are those that are sent to the user's terminal equipment from a machine or domain that is not managed by the publisher, but by another entity data is obtained through cookies.

In the event that the cookies are installed from a computer or domain managed by the editor itself but the information collected by these is managed by a third party can not be considered as party cookies.

2. Types of cookies as the length of time that remain active:

Depending on the length of time that remain active in the terminal equipment can be distinguished:

- Session cookies: cookies are a type designed to collect and store data while the user accesses a web page. Are usually used to store information that only worth preserving for the service requested by the user at any one time (eg a list of products purchased).

- Persistent cookies: cookies are a type of data which are stored in the terminal and can be accessed and treated for a period defined by the head of the cookie, and can range from a few minutes to several years.

3. Cookies types according to their purpose:

Depending on the purpose for which the data are processed through cookies, we can distinguish between:

- Technical cookies: these are those that allow the user to navigate through a web page or application platform and the use of different options or services it exist as, for example, control traffic and data communication, identify the session, access to restricted access parts, remember the elements of an order, make the buying process an order, make an application for registration or participation in an event, use security features while browsing store content for dissemination videos or sound or share content via social networks.

- Customization cookies: these are those that allow the user to access the service with some general characteristics based on a predefined set of criteria in the user terminal would eg language, the type of browser through which you access the service, the locale from which you access the service, etc.

- Analysis cookies: they are those that allow the responsible for them, monitoring and analyzing the behavior of users of the web sites that are linked. The information gathered through such cookies are used in measuring the activity of web sites, application or platform and for the profiling of user navigation of such sites, applications and platforms, in order to make improvements function data analysis how users use the service.

Management tool cookies

This Website uses Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that primarily allows website owners know how users interact with your website. Also, enable cookies in the domain of the site in which you are and uses a set of cookies called "__utma" and "__utmz" to collect information anonymously and reporting of website trends without identifying individual users..

For statistics of use of this website use cookies in order to know the level of recurrence of our visitors and more interesting content. This way we can concentrate our efforts on improving the most visited areas and make the user more easily find what they are looking for. On this site you can use the information from your visit for statistical evaluations and calculations anonymous data and to ensure the continuity of service or to make improvements to their websites. For more details, see the link below privacy policy []

How to manage cookies on your computer: disabling and deleting cookies

All Internet browsers allow you to limit the behavior of a cookie or disable cookies within settings or browser settings. The steps for doing so are different for each browser, you can find instructions in the help menu of your browser.

If you decline the use of cookies, since it is possible thanks to the preferences menu of your browser or settings, reject, this website will continue to function properly without the use of the same.

Can you allow, block or delete cookies installed on your computer by setting your browser options installed on your computer:

- For more information about Internet Explorer click here.
- For more information on Chrome click here.
- For more information about Safari click here.
- For more information about Firefox click here.

Through your browser, you can also view the cookies that are on your computer, and delete them as you see fit. Cookies are text files, you can open and read the contents. The data within them is almost always encrypted with a numeric key corresponding to an Internet session so often has no meaning beyond the website who wrote it.

Informed consent

The use of this website on the other hand, implies that you paid your specific consent to the use of cookies, on the terms and conditions provided in this Cookies Policy, without prejudice to the measures of deactivation and removal of cookies that you can take, and mentioned in the previous section.