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Phytoalexins are antibiotics produced by plants that are under attack. Phytoalexins tend to fall into several classes including terpenoids, glycosteroids and alkaloids; however, researchers often find it convenient to extend the definition to include all phytochemicals that are part of the plant's defensive arsenal.

Phytoalexins produced in plants act as toxins to the attacking organism. They may puncture the cell wall, delay maturation, disrupt metabolism or prevent reproduction of the pathogen in question. However, phytoalexins are often targeted to specific predators; a plant that has anti-insect phytoalexins may not have the ability to repel a fungal attack.

When a plant cell recognizes particles from damaged cells or particles from the pathogen, the plant launches a two-pronged resistance: a general short-term response and a delayed long-term specific response.

As part of the induced resistance, the short-term response, the plant deploys free radicals such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide to kill invading cells. In pathogen interactions, the common short-term response is the hypersensitive response, wherein apoptosis-compromised cells commit suicide in order to create a physical barrier for the invader.

Long-term resistance, or systemic acquired resistance (SAR), involves communication of the damaged tissue with the rest of the plant using plant hormones such as jasmonic acid, ethylene, abscisic acid or salicylic acid. The reception of the signal leads to global changes within the plant, which induce genes that protect from further pathogen intrusion, including enzymes involved in the production of phytoalexins. Often, if jasmonates or ethylene (both gaseous hormones) is released from the wounded tissue, neighboring plants also manufacture phytoalexins in response. For herbivores, common vectors for disease, these and other wound response aromatics seem to act as a warning that the plant is no longer edible. Also, in accordance with the old adage, "an enemy of my enemy is my friend," the aromatics may alert natural enemies of the plant invaders that lunch is available.

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| group5 = Clinical Trials Involving Phytoalexin | list5 = Ongoing Trials on Phytoalexin at Clinical Trials.govTrial results on PhytoalexinClinical Trials on Phytoalexin at Google

| group6 = Guidelines / Policies / Government Resources (FDA/CDC) Regarding Phytoalexin | list6 = US National Guidelines Clearinghouse on PhytoalexinNICE Guidance on PhytoalexinNHS PRODIGY GuidanceFDA on PhytoalexinCDC on Phytoalexin

| group7 = Textbook Information on Phytoalexin | list7 = Books and Textbook Information on Phytoalexin

| group8 = Pharmacology Resources on Phytoalexin | list8 = AND (Dose)}} Dosing of PhytoalexinAND (drug interactions)}} Drug interactions with PhytoalexinAND (side effects)}} Side effects of PhytoalexinAND (Allergy)}} Allergic reactions to PhytoalexinAND (overdose)}} Overdose information on PhytoalexinAND (carcinogenicity)}} Carcinogenicity information on PhytoalexinAND (pregnancy)}} Phytoalexin in pregnancyAND (pharmacokinetics)}} Pharmacokinetics of Phytoalexin

| group9 = Genetics, Pharmacogenomics, and Proteinomics of Phytoalexin | list9 = AND (pharmacogenomics)}} Genetics of PhytoalexinAND (pharmacogenomics)}} Pharmacogenomics of PhytoalexinAND (proteomics)}} Proteomics of Phytoalexin

| group10 = Newstories on Phytoalexin | list10 = Phytoalexin in the newsBe alerted to news on PhytoalexinNews trends on Phytoalexin

| group11 = Commentary on Phytoalexin | list11 = Blogs on Phytoalexin

| group12 = Patient Resources on Phytoalexin | list12 = Patient resources on PhytoalexinDiscussion groups on PhytoalexinPatient Handouts on PhytoalexinDirections to Hospitals Treating PhytoalexinRisk calculators and risk factors for Phytoalexin

| group13 = Healthcare Provider Resources on Phytoalexin | list13 = Symptoms of PhytoalexinCauses & Risk Factors for PhytoalexinDiagnostic studies for PhytoalexinTreatment of Phytoalexin

| group14 = Continuing Medical Education (CME) Programs on Phytoalexin | list14 = CME Programs on Phytoalexin

| group15 = International Resources on Phytoalexin | list15 = Phytoalexin en EspanolPhytoalexin en Francais

| group16 = Business Resources on Phytoalexin | list16 = Phytoalexin in the MarketplacePatents on Phytoalexin

| group17 = Informatics Resources on Phytoalexin | list17 = List of terms related to Phytoalexin


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