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PLoS Pathog. 2011 Mar;7(3):e1001327. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001327. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

The lectin receptor kinase LecRK-I.9 is a novel Phytophthora resistance component and a potential host target for a RXLR effector.

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Laboratory of Phytopathology, Plant Sciences Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


In plants, an active defense against biotrophic pathogens is dependent on a functional continuum between the cell wall (CW) and the plasma membrane (PM). It is thus anticipated that proteins maintaining this continuum also function in defense. The legume-like lectin receptor kinase LecRK-I.9 is a putative mediator of CW-PM adhesions in Arabidopsis and is known to bind in vitro to the Phytophthora infestans RXLR-dEER effector IPI-O via a RGD cell attachment motif present in IPI-O. Here we show that LecRK-I.9 is associated with the plasma membrane, and that two T-DNA insertions lines deficient in LecRK-I.9 (lecrk-I.9) have a 'gain-of-susceptibility' phenotype specifically towards the oomycete Phytophthora brassicae. Accordingly, overexpression of LecRK-I.9 leads to enhanced resistance to P. brassicae. A similar 'gain-of-susceptibility' phenotype was observed in transgenic Arabidopsis lines expressing ipiO (35S-ipiO1). This phenocopy behavior was also observed with respect to other defense-related functions; lecrk-I.9 and 35S-ipiO1 were both disturbed in pathogen- and MAMP-triggered callose deposition. By site-directed mutagenesis, we demonstrated that the RGD cell attachment motif in IPI-O is not only essential for disrupting the CW-PM adhesions, but also for disease suppression. These results suggest that destabilizing the CW-PM continuum is one of the tactics used by Phytophthora to promote infection. As countermeasure the host may want to strengthen CW-PM adhesions and the novel Phytophthora resistance component LecRK-I.9 seems to function in this process.

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