Plant Receptors that Control Immunity and Development Share a Common Origin
Published:07 Mar.2024    Source:RIKEN
Plants are continuously evolving new immune receptors to ever-changing pathogens. Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have traced the origin and evolutionary trajectory of plant immune receptors. Their discovery will make it easier to identify immune receptor genes from genomic information and could help in the development of pathogen-resistant crops.
To trace the evolution of plant immunity, researchers analyzed over 170 000 genes encoding RLKs and about 40 000 genes encoding RLPs, which they obtained from publicly available data taken from 350 plant species. Investigation by the RIKEN CSRS team revealed that among RLPs that contain the leucine-rich repeats, this special region was almost always located in the same place; between the 4th and 5th leucine-rich repeat. Comparative analysis showed that the sequence of the four repeats below the island region was very similar between the two types of protein detectors, suggesting that they have a common evolutionary ancestry. In particular, these four sets of leucine repeats contained sections needed for bonding to the same co-receptor, called BAK1. This means that immunity-related RLPs and growth-related RLKs inherited the ability to bind BAK1 from a common ancestor.

This study addressed the origins of plant immunity at a molecular level, showing that simultaneously analyzing information from multiple plant genomes can allow straightforward and precise prediction of genes involved in plant immunity and growth.< style="display:none" href="">