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Plants and their pathogens

Guest Editors:
BMC Biology:
Maya Bar: ARO, Volcani Institute, Israel
Helen Fones: University of Exeter, UK
Sam Periyannan: University of Southern Queensland, Australia

BMC Microbiology:
Olubukola Oluranti Babalola: North-West University, South Africa
Manoj Kumar Solanki: University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland
Alok K Srivastava: National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, India
Manoj Kr Tripathi: Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, India

BMC Plant Biology:
Andreia Cristina Figueiredo: Science Faculty of Lisbon University, Portugal
Ravi Gupta: Kookmin University, South Korea
Aiping Song: Nanjing Agricultural University, China

New Content ItemBMC Biology together with BMC Plant Biology and BMC Microbiology welcomed papers to the collection ‘Plants and their Pathogens’, for which we invited submissions of manuscripts relevant to the research topic. We invited submissions on all aspects of plant-pathogen interactions with studies that focus on either the individual host or the pathogen as well as those that map their interactions. This collection welcomed research articles and any methods that researchers wish to establish in this exciting and growing field. 

Each participating journal is editorially independent. Please submit directly to the relevant journal, stating in your cover letter that the submission refers to the collection ‘Plants and their Pathogens’.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Maya Bar: ARO, Volcani Institute, Israel (BMC Biology)

Dr Maya Bar has a dual background in plant development and immunity. Located at the Agricultural Research Organization- Volcani Institute in Israel, the Bar lab is comprised of a diverse group of individuals conducting collaborative basic and applied research of the plant immune system. We investigate immunity priming, development-defense trade-offs, and chemical and organismal biocontrol of plant disease. Main concepts in the lab include manipulation of immunity priming to generate plants with constitutively "ON" immune responses, resulting in broad-spectrum resistance, and research into development-defense tradeoffs with the hope of "hacking" these processes to prevent yield loss.

Helen Fones: University of Exeter, UK (BMC Biology)

Helen Fones is a UKRI future leader's fellow based at the University of Exeter.  Her research programme looks at epiphytic colonisation of leaf surfaces during early infection of wheat by the fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici, using a mix of microscopy, genomics, and metabolomics. She gained her DPhil in plant pathology from the University of Oxford in 2011. She then obtained a POINT fellowship at the Freie Universität, Berlin, before taking up a postdoctoral research position in Exeter in 2013. She began her FLF in 2020. Helen is passionate about improving research culture and has keen interests in career development for early career researchers and in equality, diversity and inclusivity in research.

Sam Periyannan: University of Southern Queensland, Australia (BMC Biology)

Sambasivam (Sam) Periyannan is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Queensland and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia. After completing his PhD at the University of Sydney, Sam started his scientific career as a postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO, where he eventually became an independent scientist and led the Crop Resistance Genes team. Sam’s research interest is centered on molecular genetics and plant pathology, focusing on understanding the interaction between cereal crops and its pathogens. Between 2017-2019, Sam took a secondment position at the Australian National University to complete the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award project, where he extended his research further to understand the molecular interaction between Myrtaceae tree species and the myrtle rust pathogen.

Olubukola Oluranti Babalola: North-West University, South Africa (BMC Microbiology)

Olubukola is an NRF-rated scientist, an MBA graduate, a Research Director and a Principal Investigator at NWU. After a PhD with a Fellowship from IITA and OWSD, she had postdoctoral experiences at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She has worked on rhizosphere metagenomics for almost 20 years. She serves on many editorial boards and as an international advisor to several others. Her recent Springer book is “Food Security and Safety: Africa’s Perspective.” Olubukola is #1 in Africa for Soil Science and Plant Nutrition.

Manoj Kumar Solanki: University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland (BMC Microbiology)

Dr Manoj Kumar Solanki is currently working as a scientist in the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. He obtained his PhD in Microbiology from Rani Durgawati University, India, and was awarded a visiting scientist fellowship from the Guangxi Academy of Agriculture Sciences, China, and at Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel. Dr Solanki has been engaged in various research activities on plants–microbes interaction, soil microbiology, plant disease management, enzymology, and published many research articles in various international journals.

Alok K Srivastava: National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, India (BMC Microbiology)

Dr Alok Kumar Srivastava is a dedicated scientist in the area of molecular microbiology, presently working as Director at ICAR-National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, India. He has made an outstanding and pioneering contribution in the area of Molecular Plant Pathology, contributed to structural, functional and comparative genomics of agriculturally important microorganisms, pathogens, development of molecular diagnostic tools and biological control of important diseases. Dr Srivastava has successfully completed several externally funded research projects from DST, DBT and other agencies of the Indian Government.

Manoj Kr Tripathi: Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, India (BMC Microbiology)

Dr Manoj Kumar Tripathi is currently working as Principal Scientist at ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal, India. His major areas of professional interest include medicinal compounds, functional food, nutraceutical, probiotic fermented food, food safety and food quality. Dr Tripathi has been recipient of several prestigious awards and honours, and he is also working as an editor-In-chief, editor and member of editorial board of several national and international journals.

Andreia Cristina Figueiredo: Science Faculty of Lisbon University, Portugal (BMC Plant Biology)

Andreia Figueiredo is an associate professor at the Science Faculty of Lisbon University and the head of the Grapevine Pathogen Systems Lab. Since her PhD on Cellular and Molecular Biology, she dedicated her research to the study of plant-pathogen interactions focusing on grapevine, through a systems biology approach by employing multi OMIC technologies, functional genomics, and biotechnology-based approaches. Her research group’s main aim is to unveil disease regulatory networks in grapevine but also to understand plant-pathogen and plant-microorganisms communication, aiming at improving crop resistance and achieve sustainable production through biotechnology-based approaches.

Ravi Gupta: Kookmin University, South Korea (BMC Plant Biology)

Dr Ravi Gupta obtained his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of Delhi, India. After gaining his Ph.D., he spent more than five years in South Korea working as a postdoctoral fellow and Research Professor at Pusan National University, Busan, Korea. Dr Gupta is a recipient of several prestigious national and international awards such as Ramalingaswami re-entry fellowship, Ramanujan fellowship, and ITS fellowship from Government of India and Korea Research/Brain-pool Fellowship from Government of South Korea. His current objectives include unravelling the molecular mechanism of plant-pathogen interaction using rice-Magnaporthe oryzae and rice-Xanthomonas oryzae pathosystems.

Aiping Song: Nanjing Agricultural University, China (BMC Plant Biology)

Aiping Song is an Associate Professor in Ornamental Horticulture in College of Horticulture, Nanjing Agricultural University, China. He has investigated many aspects of ornamental plant genomics and molecular biology, emphasizing the role of stress response, development, and plant-pathogen interaction. He has developed a variety of bioinformatics tools to promote molecular biology research, especially in protein-protein interactions. With the help of multi omics technologies, he explored the core regulatory modules that regulate plant traits, aiming at improving crops by using genetic editing tools.

About the collection

BMC Biology together with BMC Plant Biology and BMC Microbiology announce the launch of the collection ‘Plants and their Pathogens’, for which we invite submissions of manuscripts relevant to the research topic.

Plant pathogens have been implicated with severe losses in crop yield, thus affecting food security for the growing human population. With increasing importance given to cultivating and sustaining crops for agriculture and the food industry, and preventing the spread of plant pathogens, understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying plant-pathogen interactions, both in the host plant and the infecting pathogen, is paramount. With implications for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) 2 (Zero hunger), 12 (Sustainable consumption and production), 13 (Climate action) and 15 (Life on land), BMC Biology together with BMC Plant Biology and BMC Microbiology would like to acknowledge this fast-growing area of research with the launch of the ‘Plants and their Pathogens’ collection.

We invite submissions on all aspects of plant-pathogen interactions with studies that focus on either the individual host or the pathogen as well as those that map their interactions. This collection welcomes research articles and any methods that researchers wish to establish in this exciting and growing field.

The collection aims to cover a broad range of subject areas including, but not limited to:

•    Omics of plant-pathogen interactions
•    Molecular markers and omics tools for fungal plant pathogens
•    Breeding of resistant crops
•    Development of new fungicides against fungal pathogens
•    Genetic engineering of hosts and pathogens affecting crop yield
•    Tree, ornamental plant and crop pathogens
•    Cell biology of plant pathogens and infection
•    Mechanisms underlying plant defence responses, resistance and immunity
•    Mechanisms underlying pathogen infection strategies and pathogenicity
•    Molecular interactions between the host and the pathogen
•    Methods and technologies in plant pathology, and plant disease detection and control
•    The role of beneficial microbes in plant-pathogen interactions
•    Development of novel management strategies to prevent and control the spread of plant pathogens

Each participating journal is editorially independent. Please submit directly to the relevant journal, stating in your cover letter that the submission refers to the collection ‘Plants and their Pathogens’. Alternatively you can email your pre-submission queries to the in-house journal Editors (BMC Biology queries should be sent to; BMC Plant Biology and BMC Microbiology queries should be sent to Dr Giovagnetti).

Image credit: Ruth Swan /

  1. Rhizoctonia solani is an important plant pathogen worldwide, and causes serious tobacco target spot in tobacco in the last five years. This research studied the biological characteristics of four different anasto...

    Authors: Meili Sun, Hancheng Wang, Guo Ye, Songbai Zhang, Zhen Li, Liuti Cai and Feng Wang
    Citation: BMC Microbiology 2024 24:217
  2. There is an urgent need for new bioactive molecules with unique mechanisms of action and chemistry to address the issue of incorrect use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which hurts both the environment...

    Authors: Dina El-Nagar, S. H. Salem, Fatma I. El-Zamik, Howaida M. I. Abd El-Basit, Y. G. M. Galal, SM Soliman, HA Abdel Aziz, M. A. Rizk and El-Sayed R. El-Sayed
    Citation: BMC Microbiology 2024 24:200
  3. Verticillium wilt, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae, is a soil-borne vascular fungal disease, which has caused great losses to cotton yield and quality worldwide. The strain KRS010 was isolated from the ...

    Authors: Yujia Shan, Dan Wang, Fu-Hua Zhao, Jian Song, He Zhu, Yue Li, Xiao-Jun Zhang, Xiao-Feng Dai, Dongfei Han and Jie-Yin Chen
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:116
  4. Populations of the plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae display a complex and rich genetic diversity, yet the existence of sexual reproduction in the fungus remains contested. As pivotal genes, MAT genes ...

    Authors: Ya-Duo Zhang, Xiao-Bin Ji, Juan Zong, Xiao-Feng Dai, Steven J. Klosterman, Krishna V. Subbarao, Dan-Dan Zhang and Jie-Yin Chen
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:108
  5. Plant pathogens secrete effector proteins into host cells to suppress immune responses and manipulate fundamental cellular processes. One of these processes is autophagy, an essential recycling mechanism in eu...

    Authors: Serena Testi, Marie-Line Kuhn, Valérie Allasia, Pascaline Auroy, Fantao Kong, Gilles Peltier, Sophie Pagnotta, Julie Cazareth, Harald Keller and Franck Panabières
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:100
  6. Plant responses to a wide range of stresses are known to be regulated by epigenetic mechanisms. Pathogen-related investigations, particularly against RNA viruses, are however scarce. It has been demonstrated t...

    Authors: Régis L. Corrêa, Denis Kutnjak, Silvia Ambrós, Mónica Bustos and Santiago F. Elena
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:172
  7. Plant diseases are driven by an intricate set of defense mechanisms counterbalanced by the expression of host susceptibility factors promoted through the action of pathogen effectors. In spite of their central...

    Authors: Florian Rocher, Samir Dou, Géraldine Philippe, Marie-Laure Martin, Philippe Label, Thierry Langin and Ludovic Bonhomme
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:53
  8. Alternative polyadenylation (APA) is an important pattern of post-transcriptional regulation of genes widely existing in eukaryotes, involving plant physiological and pathological processes. However, there is ...

    Authors: Shaochun Liu, Shuqi Luo, Dewei Yang, Junying Huang, Xinlei Jiang, Shangwei Yu, Junru Fu, Dahu Zhou, Xiaorong Chen, Haohua He and Haihui Fu
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:145
  9. Aphanomyces euteiches is a soil-borne oomycete that causes root rot in pea and other legume species. Symptoms of Aphanomyces root rot (ARR) include root discoloration and wilting, leading to significant yield los...

    Authors: Carol Kälin, Edoardo Piombo, Salim Bourras, Agnese Kolodinska Brantestam, Mukesh Dubey, Malin Elfstrand and Magnus Karlsson
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:144
  10. Most disease resistance (R) genes in plants encode proteins that contain leucine-rich-repeat (LRR) and nucleotide-binding site (NBS) domains, which belong to the NBS-LRR family. The sequenced genomes of Fusarium ...

    Authors: Yunpeng Cao, Wanzhen Mo, Yanli Li, Yao Xiong, Han Wang, Yingjie Zhang, Mengfei Lin, Lin Zhang and Xiaoxu Li
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:45
  11. Plants have complex and dynamic immune systems that have evolved to resist pathogens. Humans have worked to enhance these defenses in crops through breeding. However, many crops harbor only a fraction of the g...

    Authors: Noah P. Winters, Eric K. Wafula, Benjamin J. Knollenberg, Tuomas Hämälä, Prakash R. Timilsena, Melanie Perryman, Dapeng Zhang, Lena L. Sheaffer, Craig A. Praul, Paula E. Ralph, Sarah Prewitt, Mariela E. Leandro-Muñoz, Diego A. Delgadillo-Duran, Naomi S. Altman, Peter Tiffin, Siela N. Maximova…
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:38
  12. Rye (Secale cereale L.) is a cereal crop highly tolerant to environmental stresses, including abiotic and biotic stresses (e.g., fungal diseases). Among these fungal diseases, leaf rust (LR) is a major threat to ...

    Authors: T. Krępski, A. Piasecka, M. Święcicka, M. Kańczurzewska, A. Sawikowska, M. Dmochowska-Boguta, M. Rakoczy-Trojanowska and M. Matuszkiewicz
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:107
  13. Pine wilt disease (PWD) is a devastating forest disease caused by the pinewood nematode (PWN), Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, a migratory endoparasite that infects several coniferous species. During the last 20 year...

    Authors: Joana M. S. Cardoso, Bruno Manadas, Isabel Abrantes, Lee Robertson, Susana C. Arcos, Maria Teresa Troya, Alfonso Navas and Luís Fonseca
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:98
  14. Fungal plant pathogens have dynamic genomes that allow them to rapidly adapt to adverse conditions and overcome host resistance. One way by which this dynamic genome plasticity is expressed is through effector...

    Authors: Alex Z. Zaccaron and Ioannis Stergiopoulos
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:25
  15. Dimorphism, the ability to switch between a ‘yeast-like’ and a hyphal growth form, is an important feature of certain fungi, including important plant and human pathogens. The switch to hyphal growth is often ...

    Authors: Andrea Kovács-Simon and Helen N. Fones
    Citation: BMC Biology 2024 22:10
  16. Potato late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, is the most devastating disease on potato. Dissecting critical immune components in potato will be supportive for engineering P. infestans resistance. Upon pa...

    Authors: Congcong Sun, Yuanyuan Li, Tingting Zhao, Weishuai Bi, Yingying Song, Xiangxiu Liang, Xiaodan Wang, Daolong Dou and Guangyuan Xu
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:30
  17. Understanding how plants and pathogens regulate each other's gene expression during their interactions is key to revealing the mechanisms of disease resistance and controlling the development of pathogens. Des...

    Authors: Meng Wang, Zhouwen Wang, Yi Ding, Shaoling Kang, Senrong Jiang, Zhuangjia Yang, Zhan Xie, Jialin Wang, Shuangshuang Wei, Jiaquan Huang, Dongdong Li, Xingyu Jiang and Hua Tang
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2024 24:4
  18. Geminiviruses are DNA plant viruses that cause highly damaging diseases affecting crops worldwide. During the infection, geminiviruses hijack cellular processes, suppress plant defenses, and cause a massive re...

    Authors: Beatriz Romero-Rodríguez, Marko Petek, Chen Jiao, Maja Križnik, Maja Zagorščak, Zhangjun Fei, Eduardo R. Bejarano, Kristina Gruden and Araceli G. Castillo
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2023 23:651
  19. The enzyme phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) controls the transition from primary to secondary metabolism by converting L-phenylalanine (L-Phe) to cinnamic acid. However, the function of PAL in pear plants (Pyrus...

    Authors: Guohui Li, Cheng Song, Muhammad Aamir Manzoor, Daoyuan Li, Yunpeng Cao and Yongping Cai
    Citation: BMC Plant Biology 2023 23:612
  20. Shifts in dynamic equilibria of the abundance of cellular molecules in plant-pathogen interactions need further exploration. We induced PTI in optimally growing Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings for 16 h, returning ...

    Authors: Mohammad Abukhalaf, Carsten Proksch, Domenika Thieme, Jörg Ziegler and Wolfgang Hoehenwarter
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:249
  21. Leptosphaeria maculans “brassicae” (Lmb) and Leptosphaeria biglobosa “brassicae” (Lbb) make up a species complex involved in the stem canker (blackleg) disease of rapeseed (Brassica napus). They coinfect rapeseed...

    Authors: Elise J. Gay, Noémie Jacques, Nicolas Lapalu, Corinne Cruaud, Valerie Laval, Marie-Hélène Balesdent and Thierry Rouxel
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:247
  22. Melanin plays important roles in morphological development, survival, host–pathogen interactions and in the virulence of phytopathogenic fungi. In Verticillum dahliae, increases in melanin are recognized as marke...

    Authors: Huan Li, Ruo-Cheng Sheng, Chen-Ning Zhang, Li-Chao Wang, Min Li, Ya-Hong Wang, Yu-Hang Qiao, Steven J. Klosterman, Jie-Yin Chen, Zhi-Qiang Kong, Krishna V. Subbarao, Feng-Mao Chen and Dan-Dan Zhang
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:237
  23. The population structure of crop pathogens such as Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), the cause of wheat stripe rust, is of interest to researchers looking to understand these pathogens on a molecular lev...

    Authors: Samuel Holden, Guus Bakkeren, John Hubensky, Ramandeep Bamrah, Mehrdad Abbasi, Dinah Qutob, Mei-Lan de Graaf, Sang Hu Kim, Hadley R. Kutcher, Brent D. McCallum, Harpinder S. Randhawa, Muhammad Iqbal, Keith Uloth, Rishi R. Burlakoti and Gurcharn S. Brar
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:233
  24. The extracellular space between the cell wall and plasma membrane is a battlefield in plant-pathogen interactions. Within this space, the pathogen employs its secretome to attack the host in a variety of ways,...

    Authors: Ran Li, Xi-Yue Ma, Ye-Jing Zhang, Yong-Jun Zhang, He Zhu, Sheng-Nan Shao, Dan-Dan Zhang, Steven J. Klosterman, Xiao-Feng Dai, Krishna V. Subbarao and Jie-Yin Chen
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:166