Pathogenic bacteria invade plant tissues and proliferate in the extracellular space. Plants have evolved the immune system to recognize and limit the growth of pathogens. Despite substantial progress in the study of plant immunity, the mechanism by which plants limit pathogen growth remains unclear. Here, we show that lignin accumulates in Arabidopsis leaves in response to incompatible interactions with bacterial pathogens in a manner dependent on Casparian strip membrane domain protein (CASP)-like proteins (CASPLs). CASPs are known to be the organizers of the lignin-based Casparian strip, which functions as a diffusion barrier in roots. The spread of invading avirulent pathogens is prevented by spatial restriction, which is disturbed by defects in lignin deposition. Moreover, the motility of pathogenic bacteria is negatively affected by lignin accumulation. These results suggest that the lignindeposited structure functions as a physical barrier similar to the Casparian strip, trapping pathogens and thereby terminating their growth.
Keywords : Arabidopsis; Casparian strip; CASPL; lignin; plant immunity