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Science Reports Achievement by Tsinghua Researcher on Molecular Mechanism of Plant Innate Immunity

Through collaboration with researchers in CAS(Chinese Academy of Sciences)and UK, Dr. Chai Jijie from Tsinghua University recently published in Sciencetitled“Structural basis for flg22-induced activation of the Arabidopsis FLS2-BAK1 immune complex”. A novel molecular mechanism of how conserved molecules from pathogens interact with receptors in plant innate immune system was revealed for the first time.

During the long process of evolution, plants gradually acquired a series of efficient and sophisticated innate immunity system against microbial pathgens. Flagellin perception in Arabidopsis is through recognition of its highly conserved N-terminal epitope (flg22) by flagellin-sensitive 2 (FLS2), so that immune system is turned on to eliminate invasion from pathogens. However, the molecular mechanism of the host-pathogen interaction is unclear, revealing of which will shed lights to improve current crops resistance to pathogen, so as to boost the yield.

Supported by the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholar and Key Program of NSFC (31025008) and (31130063),a structural biology group in Tsinghua University, led by Dr. Chai Jijie carried out its research on the reciprocal signal pathway of LRP and immune system in plant. By means ofShanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF) for assistance with data collection, Chai et al reported the crystal structure of FLS2 and BAK1 ectodomainscomplexed with flg22 at 3.06 angstroms. Their data also indicated that besides directly interacting with FLS2, BAK1 acts as a coreceptor by recognizing the C terminus of the FLS2-bound flg22. They revealed the molecular mechanisms underlying FLS2-BAK1 complex recognition of flg22 and provide insight into the immune receptor complex activation.

There are at least 200 leucine rich repeat receptor kinases (LRR-RLKS)in Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism in plant biology, whereasthere are more than 600LRR-RLKS in rice. With a similar role of GPCR receptor in animals, LRR-RLKS is involved in a broad spectrum of biological processes such as regulation of meristem growth, pathogen resistance, hormone signaling, and organizational development. Related research datacould provide evidence for the structural and functional basis of this type of proteins. Meanwhile, Chai’s research indicatednovel knowledge for manipulation of resistance in major crops for scientists in the relevant fields, with significance for the development of disease resistance of various crop and yield improvement.

Link :http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/10/09/science.1243825

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