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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 7;107(49):21193-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1000191107. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Ca2+ signaling by plant Arabidopsis thaliana Pep peptides depends on AtPepR1, a receptor with guanylyl cyclase activity, and cGMP-activated Ca2+ channels.

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College of Life Science, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 010021, China.


A family of peptide signaling molecules (AtPeps) and their plasma membrane receptor AtPepR1 are known to act in pathogen-defense signaling cascades in plants. Little is currently known about the molecular mechanisms that link these signaling peptides and their receptor, a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase, to downstream pathogen-defense responses. We identify some cellular activities of these molecules that provide the context for a model for their action in signaling cascades. AtPeps activate plasma membrane inwardly conducting Ca(2+) permeable channels in mesophyll cells, resulting in cytosolic Ca(2+) elevation. This activity is dependent on their receptor as well as a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (CNGC2). We also show that the leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase receptor AtPepR1 has guanylyl cyclase activity, generating cGMP from GTP, and that cGMP can activate CNGC2-dependent cytosolic Ca(2+) elevation. AtPep-dependent expression of pathogen-defense genes (PDF1.2, MPK3, and WRKY33) is mediated by the Ca(2+) signaling pathway associated with AtPep peptides and their receptor. The work presented here indicates that extracellular AtPeps, which can act as danger-associated molecular patterns, signal by interaction with their receptor, AtPepR1, a plasma membrane protein that can generate cGMP. Downstream from AtPep and AtPepR1 in a signaling cascade, the cGMP-activated channel CNGC2 is involved in AtPep- and AtPepR1-dependent inward Ca(2+) conductance and resulting cytosolic Ca(2+) elevation. The signaling cascade initiated by AtPeps leads to expression of pathogen-defense genes in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner.

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