Bryo-FIGHTs: Emerging insights and principles acquired from non-vascular plant-pathogen interactions

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Since the dawn of land plant evolution, pathogenic microbes have impacted plant health and threatened their survival. Though much of our knowledge on plant-pathogen interactions is derived from flowering plants, emerging research leveraging evolutionarily divergent non-vascular/non-seed bryophytes is beginning to shed light on the history and diversity of plant immune and infection processes. Here, we highlight key bryophyte-microbe pathosystems used to address fundamental questions on plant health. To this end, we outline the idea that core molecular aspects impacting plant infection and immunity are likely conserved across land plants. We discuss recent advances in the emerging field of Evo-MPMI (evolutionary molecular plant-microbe interactions) and highlight future opportunities that will clarify our understanding of the evolutionary framework that underpins host-pathogen interactions across the full spectrum of plant evolution.