Lignin-based barrier restricts pathogens to the infection site and confers resistance in plants

Myoung Hoon Lee, Hwi Seong Jeon, Seu Ha Kim, Joo Hee Chung, Daniele Roppolo, Hye Jung Lee, Hong Joo Cho, Yuki Tobimatsu, John Ralph, Ohkmae K. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)


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 lignin-deposited structure functions as a physical barrier similar to the Casparian strip, trapping pathogens and thereby terminating their growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101948
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 2

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors


  • Arabidopsis
  • Casparian strip
  • lignin
  • plant immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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