Nuclear Activity of MLA Immune Receptors Links Isolate-Specific and Basal Disease-Resistance Responses

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Plant immune responses are triggered by pattern recognition receptors that detect conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) or by resistance (R) proteins recognizing isolate-specific pathogen effectors. We show that in barley, intracellular mildew A (MLA) R proteins function in the nucleus to confer resistance against the powdery mildew fungus. Recognition of the fungal avirulence A10 effector by MLA10 induces nuclear associations between receptor and WRKY transcription factors. The identified WRKY proteins act as repressors of PAMP-triggered basal defense. MLA appears to interfere with the WRKY repressor function, thereby de-repressing PAMP-triggered basal defense. Our findings reveal a mechanism by which these polymorphic immune receptors integrate distinct pathogen signals.

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