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Cell. 1999 Nov 12;99(4):355-66.

A novel class of eukaryotic zinc-binding proteins is required for disease resistance signaling in barley and development in C. elegans.

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The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom.


Barley Rar1 is a convergence point in the signaling of resistance to powdery mildew, triggered by multiple race-specific resistance (R) genes. Rar1 is shown to function upstream of H2O2 accumulation in attacked host cells, which precedes localized host cell death. We isolated Rar1 by map-based cloning. The sequence of the deduced 25.5 kDa protein reveals two copies of a 60-amino acid domain, CHORD, conserved in tandem organization in protozoa, plants, and metazoa. CHORD defines a novel eukaryotic Zn2+-binding domain. Silencing of the C. elegans CHORD-containing gene, chp, results in semisterility and embryo lethality, suggesting an essential function of the wild-type gene in nematode development. Our findings indicate that plant R genes have recruited a fundamental cellular control element for signaling of disease resistance and cell death.

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