The zigzag model of plant-microbe interactions: is it time to move on?

Leighton Pritchard, Paul R J Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


In 2006, Jones and Dangl proposed a simple coevolutionary model of plant–pathogen interactions, called the ‘zigzag’ model, which encompasses two branches of the plant immune system (Jones and Dangl, 2006). The first branch recognizes conserved molecules shared by many classes of microbe (pathogen-associated or microbe-associated molecular patterns, PAMPs or MAMPs), and is now called pattern-triggered immunity (PTI). The second branch recognizes and responds to virulence factors termed effectors that, in the model, serve to suppress PTI. This branch is called effector-triggered immunity (ETI). The model has captured the imagination of plant pathology researchers and students alike, and has proved to be a powerful conveyor of the principal concepts in plant–pathogen interactions. Eight years on, we take a fresh look at the model to consider how well it fits its intended purpose, and how a model framework to inspire future researchers in the field of plant–microbe interactions might develop.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-870
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2014


  • zigzag model
  • plant pathogen interactions
  • plant immune system
  • pattern triggered immunity
  • effector triggered immunity

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