For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed Tina Romeis, postdoctoral researcher, Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Center, Norwich, UK. Data from the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that Hot Papers are cited 50 to 100 times more often than the average paper of the same type and age.

T. Romeis, P. Piedras, S. Zhang, D.F. Klessig, H. Hirt, J.D.G. Jones, "Rapid Avr9- and Cf-9-dependent activation of MAP kinases in tobacco cell cultures and leaves: convergence of resistance gene, elicitor, wound, and salicylate responses," Plant Cell, 11:273-88, February, 1999. (Cited in 94 papers)

Compared to what's known of how mammals respond to potential harm, the defense mechanisms of plants remain largely mysterious. "The signaling cascade from receptor through to transcription factor is just not available in plants," notes Tina Romeis, this paper's lead author. Even so, she adds, "It appears that only a limited number of pathways are available for...

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