A cellular backline: specialization of host membranes for defence.

In plant-pathogen interactions, the host plasma membrane serves as a defence front for pathogens that invade from the extracellular environment. As such, the lipid bilayer acts as a scaffold that targets and delivers defence responses to the site of attack. During pathogen infection, numerous changes in plasma membrane composition, organization, and structure occur. There is increasing evidence that this facilitates the execution of a variety of responses, highlighting the regulatory role membranes play in cellular responses. Membrane microdomains such as lipid rafts are hypothesized to create signalling platforms for receptor signalling in response to pathogen perception and for callose synthesis. Further, the genesis of pathogen-associated structures such as papillae and the extra-haustorial membrane necessitates polarization of membranes and membrane trafficking pathways. Unlocking the mechanisms by which this occurs will enable greater understanding of how targeted defences, some of which result in resistance, are executed. This review will survey some of the changes that occur in host membranes during pathogen attack and how these are associated with the generation of defence responses.