Review: Nicotiana benthamiana: a workhorse of model plants (Annu Rev Phytopathol)

For years, scientists have relied on model species to investigate the fundamental nature of plants. Not surprisingly, these systems have facilitated our combined efforts for a deeper understanding of complex plant phenomena, from the coordinated orchestration of developmental programs to the emerging interconnected networks controlling responses to stressful stimuli. In an insightful review now published in Annual Review of Phytopathology (2018), Bally et al. provide an evolutionary and historical perspective on the ever-popular model angiosperm Nicotiana benthamiana. The authors discuss both historical and modern applications of this Solanaceous powerhouse of a model system, which is native only to Australia yet can be found in laboratories and glasshouses across the globe. Moreover, the authors describe the current and future perspective of N. benthamiana as a viable system in industrial as well as academic settings, making this review a must-read for any and all scientists currently benefiting from this multi-purpose powerhouse plant. (Summary by Phil Carella) Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080417-050141