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Trends Plant Sci. 2011 Mar;16(3):132-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2010.11.001. Epub 2010 Nov 26.

Effector-triggered immunity mediated by the Pto kinase.

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  • 1Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Pto was the first disease-resistance gene cloned from a plant that confers recognition of a specific pathogen. The intracellular protein kinase that it encodes activates an immune response in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) to bacterial speck disease by interacting with either the AvrPto or AvrPtoB type III effector proteins that are delivered into the plant cell by Pseudomonas syringae pathovar tomato. This recognition event triggers signaling pathways leading to effector-triggered immunity (ETI), which inhibits pathogen growth. During the past 15 years, ~25 genes have been identified by loss-of-function studies to have a role in Pto-mediated ETI. Here, we review the experimental approaches that have been used in these studies, discuss the proteins that have been identified and characterized, and present a current model of Pto-mediated ETI.

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