Secondary Metabolites in Xylella fastidiosa-Plant Interaction
During their evolutionary history, plants have evolved the ability to synthesize and accumulate small molecules known as secondary metabolites. These compounds are not essential in the primary cell functions but play a significant role in the plants' adaptation to environmental changes and in overcoming stress. Their high concentrations may contribute to the resistance of the plants to the bacteriumXylella fastidiosa, which has recently re-emerged as a plant pathogen of global importance. Although it is established in several areas globally and is considered one of the most dangerous plant pathogens, no cure has been developed due to the lack of effective bactericides and the difficulties in accessing the xylem vessels where the pathogen grows and produces cell aggregates and biofilm. This review highlights the role of secondary metabolites in the defense of the main economic hosts ofX. fastidiosaand identifies how knowledge about biosynthetic pathways could improve our understanding of disease resistance. In addition, current developments in non-invasive techniques and strategies of combining molecular and physiological techniques are examined, in an attempt to identify new metabolic engineering options for plant defense.