19 June 2024
Plant receptor study uncovers shared origins

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Plant receptor origin study finds receptors that control immunity and development share a common origin. This study traced the origin and evolutionary trajectory of plant immune receptors. It will make it easier to identify immune receptor genes from genomic information and could help in the development of pathogen-resistant crops. This study is published in Nature Communications.

Plant Receptor Origin Study: Unveiling the Shared Roots of Plant Immunity and Development



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Introduction:

Plants, like animals, possess intricate immune systems that protect them from a vast array of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes. At the heart of this defense mechanism are specialized receptors located on the surface of plant cells, known as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). These receptors play a crucial role in detecting molecular patterns associated with pathogens, triggering immune responses to neutralize the invaders.

Tracing the Evolutionary Journey of Plant Immune Receptors:

A recent study published in Nature Communications by researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) has delved into the evolutionary history of plant immune receptors. The team, led by Ken Shirasu and Yasuhiro Kadota, analyzed over 170,000 genes encoding receptor-like kinases (RLKs) and approximately 40,000 genes encoding receptor-like proteins (RLPs), obtained from publicly available data across 350 plant species.

Their analysis revealed that RLKs and RLPs containing leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) were the most prevalent receptor types among all plant species, comprising nearly half of RLKs and 70% of RLPs. LRRs are sections within the protein where the amino acid leucine appears multiple times.

Uncovering a Common Ancestry:

The study uncovered a striking finding: RLPs and some RLKs, both involved in immune responses, shared a common evolutionary ancestor. This shared ancestry was evident in the presence of a special “island region” within these receptors, crucial for recognizing pathogen components.

In RLPs containing LRRs, this island region was consistently located between the 4th and 5th LRRs. Interestingly, the same island region was found in some RLKs, specifically those belonging to a functional group that regulates growth and development.

Functional Similarities:

Further analysis revealed that the sequence of four LRRs below the island region was highly similar between these two types of protein detectors, suggesting a shared evolutionary ancestry. These four sets of LRRs contained sections necessary for binding to the same co-receptor, called BAK1. This finding indicates that immunity-related RLPs and growth-related RLKs inherited the ability to bind BAK1 from a common ancestor.

Creating Hybrid Receptors:

The researchers conducted experiments to investigate the functional implications of this shared ancestry. They created a hybrid receptor by combining a growth-related RLK with an immunity-related RLP. Remarkably, this hybrid receptor retained the ability to recognize pathogens and induce both immune and growth-related responses.

This finding suggests that scientists may be able to engineer receptors with new functions by swapping specific modules between different receptors.

Practical Applications:

The study provides valuable insights into the origins of plant immunity at the molecular level. By analyzing information from multiple plant genomes, researchers can accurately predict genes involved in plant immunity and growth. This knowledge has practical implications for developing disease-resistant crops, a critical step in ensuring global food security in the face of emerging pathogens and changing environmental conditions.

Wrapping Up:

The study on the evolutionary trajectory of plant immune receptors sheds light on the intricate interplay between immunity and development in plants. The discovery of a shared ancestry between immunity-related and growth-related receptors opens new avenues for engineering receptors with tailored functions. This research holds promise for developing innovative strategies to protect crops from diseases, contributing to a more sustainable and food-secure future.

FAQ’s

1. What are pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), and what role do they play in plant immunity?

Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) are specialized receptors located on the surface of plant cells that play a crucial role in detecting molecular patterns associated with pathogens. These receptors trigger immune responses to neutralize the invaders.

2. What is the evolutionary origin of plant immune receptors?

A study published in Nature Communications analyzed over 170,000 genes encoding receptor-like kinases (RLKs) and approximately 40,000 genes encoding receptor-like proteins (RLPs) across 350 plant species. The findings revealed that RLKs and RLPs containing leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) were the most prevalent receptor types, and they share a common evolutionary ancestor.

3. What is the connection between immunity-related RLPs and growth-related RLKs?

The study uncovered a striking finding: immunity-related RLPs and some growth-related RLKs shared a common evolutionary ancestor. This shared ancestry was evident in the presence of a special “island region” within these receptors, crucial for recognizing pathogen components.

4. How do immunity-related RLPs and growth-related RLKs share functional similarities?

Further analysis revealed that the sequence of four LRRs below the island region was highly similar between these two types of protein detectors, suggesting a shared evolutionary ancestry. These four sets of LRRs contained sections necessary for binding to the same co-receptor, called BAK1.

5. What are the practical applications of this research on plant immune receptors?

The study provides valuable insights into the origins of plant immunity at the molecular level, which can aid in accurately predicting genes involved in plant immunity and growth. This knowledge has practical implications for developing disease-resistant crops, essential for ensuring global food security in the face of emerging pathogens and changing environmental conditions.

Links to additional Resources:

1. https://www.riken.jp/en/ 2. https://www.nature.com/comms/ 3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168945222000556

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Plant immune receptors, Evolution of plant immunity, Pattern recognition receptors

Innate immune system
The innate immune system or nonspecific immune system is one of the two main immunity strategies (the other being the adaptive immune system) in vertebrates. The innate immune system is an alternate defense strategy and is the dominant immune system response found in plants, fungi, prokaryotes, and invertebrates (see Beyond...
Read more: Innate immune system

Immune system
The immune system is a network of biological systems that protects an organism from diseases. It detects and responds to a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, as well as cancer cells and objects such as wood splinters, distinguishing them from the organism's own healthy tissue. Many...
Read more: Immune system

Pattern recognition receptor
Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) play a crucial role in the proper function of the innate immune system. PRRs are germline-encoded host sensors, which detect molecules typical for the pathogens. They are proteins expressed mainly by cells of the innate immune system, such as dendritic cells, macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, as well...
Read more: Pattern recognition receptor

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