Visible light is the basic energetic driver of plant biomass production through photosynthesis. The constantly fluctuating availability of light and other environmental factors means that the photosynthetic apparatus must be able to operate in a dynamic fashion appropriate to the prevailing conditions. Dynamic regulation is achieved through an array of homeostatic control mechanisms that both respond to and influence cellular energy and reductant status. In addition, light availability and quality are continuously monitored by plants through photoreceptors. Outside the laboratory growth room, it is within the context of complex changes in energy and signalling status that plants must regulate pathways to deal with biotic challenges, and this can be influenced by changes in the highly energetic photosynthetic pathways and in the turnover of the photosynthetic machinery. Because of this, defence responses are neither simple nor easily predictable, but rather conditioned by the nutritional and signalling status of the plant cell. This review discusses recent data and emerging concepts of how recognized defence pathways interact with and are influenced by light-dependent processes. Particular emphasis is placed on the potential roles of the chloroplast, photorespiration, and photoreceptor-associated pathways in regulating the outcome of interactions between plants and pathogenic organisms.
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