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Cross-reactivity of a rice NLR immune receptor to distinct effectors from the blast pathogen leads to partial disease resistance

By Freya A. Varden, Hiromasa Saitoh, Kae Yoshino, M Franceschetti, Sophien Kamoun, Ryohei Terauchi, Mark J Banfield

Posted 25 Jan 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/530675

Unconventional integrated domains in plant intracellular immune receptors (NLRs) can directly bind translocated pathogen effector proteins to initiate an immune response. The rice immune receptor pairs Pik-1/Pik-2 and RGA5/RGA4 both use integrated heavy metal-associated (HMA) domains to bind the Magnaporthe oryzae effectors AVR-Pik and AVR-Pia, respectively. These effectors both belong to the MAX effector family and share a core structural fold, despite being divergent in sequence. How integrated domains maintain specificity of recognition, even for structurally similar effectors, has implications for understanding plant immune receptor evolution and function. Here we show that the rice NLR pair Pikp-1/Pikp-2 triggers an immune response leading to partial disease resistance towards the mis-matched effector AVR-Pia in planta, and that the Pikp-HMA domain binds AVR-Pia in vitro. The HMA domain from another Pik-1 allele, Pikm, is unable to bind AVR-Pia, and does not trigger a response in plants. The crystal structure of Pikp-HMA bound to AVR-Pia reveals a different binding interface compared to AVR-Pik effectors, suggesting plasticity in integrated domain/effector interactions. This work shows how a single NLR can bait multiple pathogen effectors via an integrated domain, and may enable engineering immune receptors with extended disease resistance profiles.

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