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Chemical defenses



Notably, chemical defenses in living organisms play the vital role of protecting the
organisms from microbes. These defenses that are categorized as nonspecific immunity and
specific immunity, they have unique features, and are found in both plants and animals.
Therefore, an evaluation of models showing nonspecific immunity in plants and animals will
provide insight on their main aspects, similarities, and differences between the chemical defense
found in plants and those found in animals.
Nonspecific Responses in Animals
Image one: Phagocytosis in macrophages

Source: (ASU School of life-sciences, 2016).

Macrophages are specialized cells that are produced in response to infections in an
animals body (Mandal, 2016). Following their formation through the differentiation of
monocytes (ASU School of life-sciences, 2016), the macrophages enter the affected areas and


engulf and the suck-in disease-causing microbes, through the process of phagocytosis.
Subsequently, macrophages break-down the microbes using enzymes stores in lysosomes, and
afterwards the leftover materials are egested as waste (Mandal, 2016).This usually forms the first
line of defense against infections in the body.
Nonspecific Responses in plants
Image two: Non-specific immunity in plants

Source: (Keene, 2016)

Plants employ two non-specific immune pathways to counter pathogens. The first
pathway involves pattern recognition receptors (PRR) (Keene, 2016). More elaborately, PRRs on
the plant cells surface identify pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) that are
released by the invading pathogens, and subsequently start signaling pathways in the cell ,thus


spurring the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antimicrobial compounds, and
promoting changes in hormone levels and gene expressions (Keene,2016). The second pathway
involves intracellular plant protein complexes known as nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich
repeat receptors (NLRs). According to Keene (2016), NLRs bind bacterial effectors, thereby,
starting immune cascades that boost PAMP-activated responses. In addition, the NLR-binding
leads to the death of plant cells hence limiting infection.
Similarities and differences in plant and animal forms of non-specific responses
Further, the non-specific responses in animals and plants have similarities and
differences. Particularly, Taylor (2008) points out that plant and animal non-specific responses
are similar in terms of the gene-for-gene non-self-surveillance approaches. More elaborately, the
disease resistance (R) genes mediate the identification of particular pathogen-derived
components in a manner that is similar in plants and animals (Kirly et al., 2013).However, plant
forms of non-specific responses differ from animal forms in that they lack mobile cells such as
Lymphocytes that enhance immunity in animals (Kirly et al., 2013).In addition, Taylor (2008)
indicates that plants employ immune strategies that are less complex and that develop different
forms of memory, since plants lack a circulatory system.



ASU School of life-sciences. (2016). Macrophage | ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved 29 October 2016, from
Keene, A. (2016). Holding Their Ground: To protect the global food supply, scientists want to
understandand enhanceplants natural resistance to pathogens. The Scientist.
Retrieved 29 October 2016, from
Kirly, L., Knstler, A., Bacs, R., Hafez, Y., & Kirly, Z. (2013). Similarities and differences in
plant and animal immune systemswhat is inhibiting pathogens. Acta Phytopathologica
et Entomologica Hungarica, 48(2), 187-205.
Mandal, A. (2016). What is a Macrophage?. Retrieved 29 October 2016,
Taylor, C. B. (2008). Defense responses in plants and animalsmore of the same. The plant cell,
10(6), 873-876.