Systemic resistance and priming


Priming plants for biotic and abiotic stress resistance

Genetically susceptible plants can be induced to defend themselves against future attacks. This so-called induced resistance is triggered by different mechanisms, i.e. pathogen attack, beneficial root-colonizing organisms, or specific chemical compounds such as salicylic acid or the resistance inducer BTH. Such directly induced plants accumulate products of defense genes and are able to combat stress more effectively. Plants can also be „primed“ to defend themselves again various stresses.

Such priming allows the plant to respond faster and to a higher extent when it is subjected to a stress, thus making it more resistant or tolerant. In contrast to induced resistance, there is no massive induction of defensive compounds in absence of the stress and therefore, priming has lower physiological costs than induced resistance.


The primed state of the plant is divided into 3 distinct phases:


The induction phase following the priming stimulus

The defensive phase after challenge with a stress

The maintenance in time of the primed phase


Some of our priming publications

(complete list of publications)

Mauch-Mani, B. Baccelli I, Luna E. and Flors V (2016). Resistance Priming and Systemic Acquired Resistance. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 68, in press.

Cohen Y, Vaknin M and Mauch-Mani B (2016) BABA-Induced Resistance: Milestones along a 55-Years Journey. Phytoparasitica, in press

Thevenet D, Pastor V, Baccelli I, Balmer A, Vallat A, Neier R, Glauser G, Mauch-Mani B (2016) The priming molecule β-aminobutyric acid is naturally present in plants  and is induced by stress. New Phytologist, in press

Martinez-Medina, A., Flors, V., Heil, M., Mauch-Mani, B., Pieterse, C. M., Pozo, M. J., ... & Conrath, U. (2016). Recognizing plant defense priming. Trends in Plant Science, 21(10), 818-822.

Balmer, A., Pastor, V., Gamir, J., Flors, V., & Mauch-Mani, B. (2015). The ‘prime-ome’: towards a holistic approach to priming. Trends in plant science, 20(7), 443-452.

Slaughter A, Daniel X, Flors V, Luna E, Hohn B and Mauch-Mani B (2012) Descendants of primed Arabidopsis plants exhibit resistance to biotic stress. Plant Phys. 158, 835-843.

Prime-A-Plant Group; Conrath U, Beckers GJ, Flors V, Garcia-Agustin P, Jakab G, Mauch F, Newman MA, Pieterse CM, Poinssot B, Pozo MJ, Pugin A, Schaffrath U, Ton J, Wendehenne D, Zimmerli L, Mauch-Mani B. (2006) Priming: getting ready for battle. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 19:1062-71.

Ton J., G. Jakab, V. Toquin, V. Flors, A. Iavicoli, M. N. Maeder, J.-P. Métraux, and B. Mauch-Mani (2005) Dissecting the β-aminobutyric acid-induced priming phenomenon in Arabidopsis . Plant Cell 17: 987-999.

Jakab G., J. Ton, V. Flors, J.-P. Métraux. and B. Mauch-Mani (2005) Enhancing Arabidopsis salt and drought stress tolerance by chemical priming for its abscisic acid responses Plant Physiol. 139:267-74.

Ton J. and B. Mauch-Mani (2004) ß-amino-butyric acid-induced resistance against necrotrophic pathogens is based on ABA-dependent priming for callose. Plant Journal 38: 119-130.

Conrath U., Pieterse C.M.J. and Mauch-Mani B. (2002) Priming in plant-pathogen interactions. Trends in Plant Science 7: 210-216. Mauch-Mani B. (2002) Host Resistance to Downy Mildew Diseases. In: The Downy Mildews, Spencer-Philipps P, (Ed.), Kluwer.

Zimmerli L., Jakab G., Metraux J.P. and Mauch-Mani B. (2000) Potentiation of pathogen-specific defense mechanisms in Arabidopsis by beta-aminobutyric acid. PNAS 97: 12920 – 12925






Highly Cited Researcher and member of ‘the World’s most influential scientific minds’ – Thomson Reuters



Ivan Baccelli

Guillaume Gouzerh



Andrea Balmer

Charlotte Martin

Fares Bellameche

Francesco Stefanelli 


Etudiants de Master 

Jonas Rufener