© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Cell death is a vital process for multicellular organisms. Programmed cell death (PCD) functions in a variety of processes including growth, development, and immune responses for homeostasis maintenance. In particular, plants and animals utilize PCD to control pathogen invasion and infected cell populations. Despite some similarity, there are a number of key differences between how these organisms initiate and regulate cell death. In contrast to animals, plants are sessile, lack a circulatory system, and have additional cellular structures, including cell walls and chloroplasts. Plant cells have the autonomous ability to induce localized cell death using conserved eukaryotic pathways as well as unique plant-specific pathways. Thus, in order to successfully infect host cells, pathogens must subvert immune responses and avoid detection to prevent PCD and allow infection. Here we discuss the roles of cell death in plant immune responses and the tactics pathogens utilize to avert cell death.