Plants are protected from microbial infection by a robust immune system. Two of the earliest responses mediated by surface-localized immune receptors include an increase in cytosolic calcium (Ca2+) and a burst of apoplastic reactive oxygen species (ROS). The Arabidopsis plasma membrane-associated cytoplasmic kinase BIK1 is an immediate convergent substrate of multiple surface-localized immune receptors that is genetically required for the PAMP-induced Ca2+ burst and directly regulates ROS production catalyzed by the NADPH oxidase RBOHD. We recently demonstrated that Arabidopsis plants maintain an optimal level of BIK1 through a process of continuous degradation regulated by the Ca2+-dependent protein kinase CPK28. cpk28 mutants accumulate more BIK1 protein and display enhanced immune signaling, while plants over-expressing CPK28 accumulate less BIK1 protein and display impaired immune signaling. Here, we show that CPK28 additionally contributes to the PAMP-induced Ca2+ burst, supporting its role as a negative regulator of BIK1.
Defense against pathogens in multicellular eukaryotes depends on intracellular immune receptors, yet surveillance by these receptors is poorly understood. Several plant nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat (NB-LRR) immune receptors carry fusions with other protein domains. The Arabidopsis RRS1-R NB-LRR protein carries a C-terminal WRKY DNA binding domain and forms a receptor complex with RPS4, another NB-LRR protein. This complex detects the bacterial effectors AvrRps4 or PopP2 and then activates defense. Both bacterial proteins interact with the RRS1 WRKY domain, and PopP2 acetylates lysines to block DNA binding. PopP2 and AvrRps4 interact with other WRKY domain-containing proteins, suggesting these effectors interfere with WRKY transcription factor-dependent defense, and RPS4/RRS1 has integrated a “decoy” domain that enables detection of effectors that target WRKY proteins. We propose that NB-LRR receptor pairs, one member of which carries an additional protein domain, enable perception of pathogen effectors whose function is to target that domain.
Parasite effector proteins target various host cell compartments to alter host processes and promote infection. How effectors cross membrane-rich interfaces to reach these compartments is a major question in effector biology. Growing evidence suggests that effectors use molecular mimicry to subvert host cell machinery for protein sorting. We recently identified CTP1 (chloroplast-targeted protein 1), a candidate effector from the poplar leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina that carries a predicted transit peptide and accumulates in chloroplasts. Here, we show that the CTP1 transit peptide is necessary and sufficient for accumulation in the stroma of chloroplasts, and is cleaved after translocation. CTP1 is part of a Melampsora-specific family of polymorphic secreted proteins whose members translocate and are processed in chloroplasts in a N-terminal signal-dependent manner. Our findings reveal that fungi have evolved effector proteins that mimic plant-specific sorting signals to traffic within plant cells.
Pathogen recognition induces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by NADPH oxidases in both plants and animals. ROS has direct anti-microbial properties, but also serve as signaling molecules to activate further immune outputs. However, ROS production has to be tightly controlled to avoid detrimental effects on host cells, but yet must be produced in the right amount, at the right place and at the right time upon pathogen perception. Plant NADPH oxidases belong to the respiratory burst oxidase homolog (RBOH) family, which contains 10 members in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) leads to a rapid, specific and strong production of ROS, which is dependent on RBOHD. RBOHD is mainly controlled by Ca2+ via direct binding to EF-hand motifs and phosphorylation by Ca2+-dependent protein kinases. Recent studies have, however, revealed a critical role for a Ca2+-independent regulation of RBOHD. The plasma membrane-associated cytoplasmic kinase BIK1, which is a direct substrate of the PRR complex, directly interacts with and phosphorylates RBOHD upon PAMP perception. Impairment of these phosphorylation events completely abolishes the function of RBOHD in immunity. These results suggest that RBOHD activity is tightly controlled by multilayered regulations. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms controlling RBOHD activation.
The cell's endomembranes comprise an intricate, highly dynamic and well-organised system. In plants the proteins that regulate function of the various endomembrane compartments and their cargo remain largely unknown. Our aim was to dissect subcellular trafficking routes by enriching for partially overlapping subpopulations of endosomal proteomes associated with endomembrane markers. We selected RABD2a/ARA5, RABF2b/ARA7, RABF1/ARA6, and RABG3f as markers for combinations of the Golgi, trans-Golgi Network (TGN), Early Endosomes (EE), secretory vesicles, Late Endosomes (LE), Multivesicular Bodies (MVB) and the tonoplast. As comparisons we used Golgi transport 1 (GOT1), which localises to the Golgi, Clathrin Light Chain 2 (CLC2) labelling Clathrin-coated vesicles and pits and the Vesicle Associated Membrane Protein 711 (VAMP711) present at the tonoplast. We developed an easy-to-use method by refining published protocols based on affinity purification of fluorescent fusion constructs to these seven subcellular marker proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. We present a total of 433 proteins, only five of which were shared among all enrichments, while many proteins were common between endomembrane compartments of the same trafficking route. Approximately half, 251 proteins, were assigned to one enrichment only. Our dataset contains known regulators of endosome functions including small GTPases, SNARES and tethering complexes. We identify known cargo proteins such as PIN3, PEN3, CESA and recently defined complexes such as TPLATE. The sub-cellular localisation of two GTPase regulators predicted from our enrichments was validated using live-cell imaging. This is the first proteomic data set to discriminate between such highly overlapping endomembrane compartments in plants and can be used as a general proteomic resource to predict the localisation of proteins, identify the components of regulatory complexes and provides a useful tool for the identification of new protein markers of the endomembrane system.
Standard molecular biological methods involve the analysis of gene expression in living organisms under diverse environmental and developmental conditions. One of the most direct approaches to quantify gene expression is the isolation of RNA. Most techniques used to quantify gene expression require the isolation of RNA, usually from a large number of samples. While most published protocols, including those for commercial reagents, are either labour intensive, use hazardous chemicals and/or are costly, a previously published protocol for RNA isolation in Arabidopsis thaliana yields high amounts of good quality RNA in a simple, safe and inexpensive manner.
Potato late blight, caused by the destructive Irish famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans, is a major threat to global food security1,2. All late blight resistance genes identified to date belong to the coiled-coil, nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat class of intracellular immune receptors3. However, virulent races of the pathogen quickly evolved to evade recognition by these cytoplasmic immune receptors4. Here we demonstrate that the receptor-like protein ELR (elicitin response) from the wild potato Solanum microdontum mediates extracellular recognition of the elicitin domain, a molecular pattern that is conserved in Phytophthora species. ELR associates with the immune co-receptor BAK1/SERK3 and mediates broad-spectrum recognition of elicitin proteins from several Phytophthora species, including four diverse elicitins from P. infestans. Transfer of ELR into cultivated potato resulted in enhanced resistance to P. infestans. Pyramiding cell surface pattern recognition receptors with intracellular immune receptors could maximize the potential of generating a broader and potentially more durable resistance to this devastating plant pathogen.
Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that affected Japan, >20,000 ha of rice paddy field was inundated with seawater, resulting in salt contamination of the land. As local rice landraces are not tolerant of high salt concentrations, we set out to develop a salt-tolerant rice cultivar. We screened 6,000 ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutant lines of a local elite cultivar, 'Hitomebore', and identified a salt-tolerant mutant that we name hitomebore salt tolerant 1 (hst1). In this Correspondence, we report how we used our MutMap method to rapidly identify a loss-of-function mutation responsible for the salt tolerance of hst1 rice. The salt-tolerant hst1 mutant was used to breed a salt-tolerant variety named 'Kaijin', which differs from Hitomebore by only 201 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Field trials showed that it has the same growth and yield performance as the parental line under normal growth conditions. Notably, production of this salt-tolerant mutant line ready for delivery to farmers took only two years using our approach.
• Components of brassinosteroid and PAMP receptor complexes are phosphorylated on tyrosine residues.
• Tyrosine phosphorylation is an important mechanism for the activation of receptor kinase complexes. • Phosphorylation of specific tyrosine residues could contribute to specific signaling outcomes.
Tyrosine phosphorylation is an important post-translational modification that is known to regulate receptor kinase (RK)-mediated signaling in animals. Plant RKs are annotated as serine/threonine kinases, but recent work has revealed that tyrosine phosphorylation is also crucial for the activation of RK-mediated signaling in plants. These initial observations have paved the way for subsequent detailed studies on the mechanism of activation of plant RKs and the biological relevance of tyrosine phosphorylation for plant growth and immunity. In this Opinion article we review recent reports on the contribution of RK tyrosine phosphorylation in plant growth and immunity; we propose that tyrosine phosphorylation plays a major regulatory role in the initiation and transduction of RK-mediated signaling in plants.
Perception of pathogen (or microbe)-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs/MAMPs) by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) is a key component of plant innate immunity. The Arabidopsis PRR EF-Tu receptor (EFR) recognizes the bacterial PAMP elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) and its derived peptide elf18. Previous work revealed that transgenic expression of AtEFR in Solanaceae confers elf18 responsiveness and broad-spectrum bacterial disease resistance.In this study, we developed a set of bioassays to study the activation of PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI) in wheat. We generated transgenic wheat (Triticum aestivum) plants expressing AtEFR driven by the constitutive rice actin promoter and tested their response to elf18.We show that transgenic expression of AtEFR in wheat confers recognition of elf18, as measured by the induction of immune marker genes and callose deposition. When challenged with the cereal bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. oryzae, transgenic EFR wheat lines had reduced lesion size and bacterial multiplication.These results demonstrate that AtEFR can be transferred successfully from dicot to monocot species, further revealing that immune signalling pathways are conserved across these distant phyla. As novel PRRs are identified, their transfer between plant families represents a useful strategy for enhancing resistance to pathogens in crops.
Plant immunity requires recognition of pathogen effectors by intracellular NB-LRR immune receptors encoded by Resistance (R) genes. Most R proteins recognize a specific effector, but some function in pairs that recognize multiple effectors. Arabidopsis thaliana TIR-NB-LRR proteins RRS1-R and RPS4together recognize two bacterial effectors, AvrRps4 from Pseudomonas syringae and PopP2 from Ralstonia solanacearum. However, AvrRps4, but not PopP2, is recognized in rrs1/rps4 mutants. We reveal an R gene pair that resembles and is linked to RRS1/RPS4, designated as RRS1B/RPS4B, which confers recognition of AvrRps4 but not PopP2. Like RRS1/RPS4, RRS1B/RPS4B proteins associate and activate defence genes upon AvrRps4 recognition. Inappropriate combinations (RRS1/RPS4B or RRS1B/RPS4) are non-functional and this specificity is not TIR domain dependent. Distinct putative orthologues of both pairs are maintained in the genomes of Arabidopsis thalianarelatives and are likely derived from a common ancestor pair. Our results provide novel insights into paired R gene function and evolution.
Intracellular immune receptors of the nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NB-LRR or NLR) proteins often function in pairs, with "helper" proteins required for the activity of "sensors" that mediate pathogen recognition. The NLR helper NRC1 (NB-LRR protein required for HR-associated cell death 1) has been described as a signalling hub required for the cell death mediated by both cell surface and intracellular immune receptors in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana. However, this work predates the availability of the N. benthamiana genome and whether NRC1 is indeed required for the reported phenotypes has not been confirmed. Here, we investigated the NRC family of solanaceous plants using a combination of genome annotation, phylogenetics, gene silencing and genetic complementation experiments. We discovered that a paralog of NRC1, we termed NRC3, is required for the hypersensitive cell death triggered by the disease resistance protein Pto but not Rx and Mi-1.2. NRC3 may also contribute to the hypersensitive cell death triggered by the receptor-like protein Cf-4. Our results highlight the importance of applying genetic complementation to validate gene function in RNA silencing experiments.
One of the world’s most important staple crops, the sweet potato, is a naturally transgenic plant that was genetically modified thousands of years ago by a soil bacterium. This surprising discovery may influence the public view of GM crops.
The first layer of plant immunity is activated by cell surface receptor-like kinases (RLKs) and proteins (RLPs) that detect infectious pathogens. Constitutive interaction with the RLK SUPPRESSOR OF BIR1 (SOBIR1) contributes to RLP stability and kinase activity. As RLK activation requires transphosphorylation with a second associated RLK, it remains elusive how RLPs initiate downstream signaling. To address this, we investigated functioning of Cf RLPs that mediate immunity of tomato against Cladosporium fulvum. We employed live-cell imaging and co-immunoprecipitation in tomato and Nicotiana benthamiana to investigate the requirement of associated kinases for Cf activity and ligand-induced subcellular trafficking of Cf-4. Upon elicitation with the matching effector ligands Avr4 and Avr9, BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1) associates with Cf-4 and Cf-9. Furthermore, Cf-4 that interacts with SOBIR1 at the plasma membrane, is recruited to late endosomes after elicitation. Significantly, BAK1 is required for Avr4-triggered endocytosis, effector-triggered defenses in Cf-4 plants and resistance of tomato against C. fulvum. Our observations indicate that RLP-mediated immune signaling and endocytosis require ligand-induced recruitment of BAK1, reminiscent of BAK1 interaction and subcellular fate of the FLAGELLIN SENSING 2 RLK. This reveals that diverse classes of cell surface immune receptors share common requirements for signaling initiation and endocytosis.
Tyrosine (Tyr) phosphorylation plays an essential role in signaling in animal systems, but the relative contribution of Tyr phosphorylation to plant signal transduction has, until recently, remained an open question. One of the major issues hampering the analysis is the low abundance of Tyr phosphorylation and therefore underrepresentation in most mass spec-based proteomic studies. Here, we describe a working approach to selectively enrich Tyr-phosphorylated peptides from complex plant tissue samples. We describe a detailed protocol that is based on immuno-affinity enrichment step using an anti-phospho-tyrosine (pTyr)-specific antibody. This single enrichment strategy effectively enriches pTyr-containing peptides from complex total plant cell extracts, which can be measured by LC-MS/MS without further fractionation or enrichment.
Receptor-like proteins (RLPs), forming an important group of transmembrane receptors in plants, play roles in development and immunity. RLPs contain extracellular leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) and, in contrast to receptor-like kinases (RLKs), lack a cytoplasmic kinase required for initiating downstream signalling. Recent studies revealed that the RLK SOBIR1/EVR (SUPPRESSOR OF BIR1-1/EVERSHED) specifically interacts with RLPs. SOBIR1 stabilizes RLPs and is required for their function. However, the mechanism by which SOBIR1 associates with RLPs and regulates RLP function remains unknown. The Cf immune receptors of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), mediating resistance to the fungus Cladosporium fulvum, are RLPs that also interact with SOBIR1. Here, we show that both the LRR and kinase domain of SOBIR1 are dispensable for association with the RLP Cf-4, whereas the highly conserved GxxxGxxxG motif present in the transmembrane domain of SOBIR1 is essential for its interaction with Cf-4 and additional RLPs. Complementation assays in Nicotiana benthamiana, in which endogenous SOBIR1 levels were knocked-down by virus-induced gene silencing, showed that the LRR domain as well as kinase activity of SOBIR1 are required for the Cf-4/Avr4-triggered hypersensitive response (HR). In contrast, the LRRs and kinase activity of SOBIR1 are not required for facilitating Cf-4 accumulation. Together, these results suggest that in addition to being a stabilizing scaffold for RLPs, SOBIR1 is also required for initiating downstream signalling through its kinase domain.
The introgression of disease resistance (R) genes encoding immunoreceptors with broad-spectrum recognition into cultivated potato appears to be the most promising approach to achieve sustainable management of late blight caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Rpi-blb2 from Solanum bulbocastanum, shows great potential for use in agriculture based on preliminary potato disease trials. Rpi-blb2 confers immunity by recognizing the P. infestans avirulence effector protein AVRblb2 after it is translocated inside the plant cell. This effector belongs to the RXLR class of effectors and is under strong positive selection. Structure-function analyses revealed a key polymorphic amino acid (position 69) in AVRblb2 effector that is critical for activation of Rpi-blb2. In this study, we reconstructed the evolutionary history of the Avrblb2 gene family and further characterized its genetic structure in worldwide populations. Our data indicates that Avrblb2 evolved as a single copy gene in a putative ancestral species of P. infestans and has recently expanded in the Phytophthora species that infect solanaceous hosts. As a consequence, at least four variants of AVRblb2 arose in P. infestans. One of these variants, with a Phe residue at position 69, evades recognition by the cognate resistance gene. Surprisingly, all Avrblb2 variants are maintained in pathogen populations. This suggests a potential benefit for the pathogen in preserving duplicated versions of AVRblb2 possibly because the variants may have different contributions to pathogen fitness in a diversified solanaceous host environment.
Focus issue on plant immunity: from model systems to crop species
The Sainsbury Lab's insight:
One of the largest challenges of our time is to enhance agricultural production to feed a growing population in the midst of a changing climate. According to estimates, the global population will increase from 7 to 9 billion people by 2050 requiring a 60% increase in food in order to meet demand (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012). Only the combination of reduction of food waste together with an increase in food productivity will enable us to meet this daunting challenge (Godfray et al., 2010). Advancements in agricultural practices, technology, food transport, and crop yields on marginal lands will be required to address this looming food production challenge. Crop losses due to plant disease significantly impact agriculture, with ~15% of global crop production lost due to preharvest plant disease (Pinstrup-Andersen, 2001; Oerke, 2006). Studies of model plants, such as Arabidopsis, have significantly enhanced our understanding of plant innate immune perception and signaling. For example, the identification of classical plant resistant genes in Arabidopsis and other model dicots facilitated the successful cloning of multiple wheat rust resistant genes (Ellis et al., 2014; Wulff and Moscou, 2014). With advancements in genome sequencing and analyses, we are now at a stage to exploit the basic knowledge gained in plant model species at a full genome scale in crops (Piquerez et al., 2014).
Author Summary Plants possess multi-layered immune recognition systems. Early in the infection process, plants use receptor proteins to recognize pathogen molecules. Some of these receptors are present in only in a subset of plant species. Transfer of these taxonomically restricted immune receptors between plant species by genetic engineering is a promising approach for boosting the plant immune system. Here we show the successful transfer of an immune receptor from a species in the mustard family, called EFR, to rice. Rice plants expressing EFR are able to sense the bacterial ligand of EFR and elicit an immune response. We show that the EFR receptor is able to use components of the rice immune signaling pathway for its function. Under laboratory conditions, this leads to an enhanced resistance response to two weakly virulent isolates of an economically important bacterial disease of rice.
In a rare gathering, genomics met palaeontology at the 10th New Phytologist Workshop on the ‘Origin and evolution of plants and their interactions with fungi’. An eclectic group of 17 experts met at The Natural History Museum (London, UK) on 9–10 September 2014 to discuss the latest findings on plant interactions with fungi (Eumycota) and oomycetes (Oomycota = Peronosporomycota), with topics ranging from the fossil record and comparative genomics to symbiosis and phytopathology. The discussions were largely disseminated via social media (Box 1). Highly diverse plant–fungal interactions have formed the backbone of land ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles since the Palaeozoic (see Fig. 1 for geological timeframe). As summarized by Christine Strullu-Derrien and Paul Kenrick (The Natural History Museum, London, UK) the first land plants arose c. 470 million years (Myr) ago (Kenrick et al., 2012; Edwards et al., 2014), at which time fungi and oomycetes had already colonized terrestrial ecosystems. Following their terrestrialization, these microbes began to abound within plant fossils (Taylor et al., 2014, and references therein). Ultimately, biological interactions sculpted the genomes of plants, fungi and oomycetes (e.g. Schmidt & Panstruga, 2011; Kohler et al., 2015). Here we illustrate the picture that has emerged from the discussions at the 10th New Phytologist Workshop, and point to some pending questions.
The innate immune system’s ability to recognize infectious non-self molecules relies on the sensitive perception of conserved pathogen- associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by host pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs). A stereotypical bacterial PAMP recognized by mammalian cells is lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the major constituent of the outer cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria. Although plants are also able to perceive LPS and mount innate immune responses, no plant receptor for LPS was known until now. In this issue of Nature Immunology, Ranf et al. report the identification of a plasma-membrane receptor kinase that is required for respon- siveness to LPS in plants and define a type of domain potentially involved in the perception of LPS.
The ‘breaker’ element ( GcB ) of the gametocidal locus derived from Aegilops sharonensishas been mapped to a region proximal to a block of sub-telomeric heterochromatin on chromosome 4S sh L.
The production of alien chromosome addition lines allows the transfer of useful genetic variation into elite wheat varieties from related wild species. However, some wild relatives of wheat, particularly those within the Sitopsis section of the genus Aegilops, possess chromosomes that are transmitted preferentially to the offspring when addition lines are generated. Species within the Sitopsis group possess the S genome, and among these species, Aegilops sharonensis (2n = 14, SshSsh) carries the Ssh genome which is closely related to the D genome of hexaploid wheat. Some S genome chromosomes carry gametocidal loci, which induce severe chromosome breakage in gametes lacking the gametocidal chromosome, and hence, result in gamete abortion. The preferential transmission of gametocidal loci could be exploited in wheat breeding, because linking gametocidal loci with important agronomic traits in elite wheat varieties would ensure retention of these traits through successive generations. In this study, we have mapped the breaker element of the gametocidal locus derived from Ae. sharonensis to the region immediately proximal to a block of sub-telomeric heterochromatin on the long arm of chromosome 4Ssh.
Insect pests reduce yields of crops worldwide through direct damage and because they spread devastating viral diseases. In Asia, the brown planthopper (BPH) decimates rice (Oryza sativa) crops, causing the loss of billions of dollars annually1. In this issue, Liu et al.2 report the cloning of a rice genetic locus that confers broad-spectrum resistance to BPH and at least one other planthopper species (white back planthopper). Introducing this locus into plant genomes is likely to provide an effective means of combating insect pests of rice and of other cereals such as maize.
Plant innate immunity depends on the function of a large number of intracellular immune receptor proteins, the majority of which are structurally similar to mammalian nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor (NLR) proteins. CHILLING SENSITIVE 3 (CHS3) encodes an atypical Toll/Interleukin 1 Receptor (TIR)-type NLR protein with an additional Lin-11, Isl-1 and Mec-3 (LIM) domain at its C-terminus. The gain-of-function mutant allele chs3-2D exhibits severe dwarfism and constitutively activated defense responses, including enhanced resistance to virulent pathogens, high defence marker gene expression, and salicylic acid accumulation. To search for novel regulators involved in CHS3-mediated immune signaling, we conducted suppressor screens in the chs3-2D and chs3-2D pad4-1 genetic backgrounds. Alleles of sag101 and eds1-90 were isolated as complete suppressors of chs3-2D, and alleles of sgt1b were isolated as partial suppressors of chs3-2D pad4-1. These mutants suggest that SAG101, EDS1-90, and SGT1b are all positive regulators of CHS3-mediated defense signaling. Additionally, the TIR-type NLR-encoding CSA1 locus located genomically adjacent to CHS3 was found to be fully required for chs3-2D-mediated autoimmunity. CSA1 is located 3.9[emsp14]kb upstream of CHS3 and is transcribed in the opposite direction. Altogether, these data illustrate the distinct genetic requirements for CHS3-mediated defense signaling.
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