Dept. Plant Pathology, One Shields Ave., UC Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.
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Accepted 23 December 2003.
Innate immunity to microorganisms relies on the specific sensing of pathogen-associated molecules by host recognition receptors. Whereas studies in animals have largely focused on the recognition of extracellular pathogen-associated molecules by the TLR (toll-like receptor) superfamily, few studies have been carried out in plants, and it is not understood how these molecules are secreted or modified. The rice Xa21 gene encodes a receptor-like kinase that provides immunity against strains of the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae carrying AvrXa21 activity. We identified four X. oryzae pv. oryzae genes that are required for AvrXa21 activity. raxA, raxB, and raxC encode proteins with similarity to a membrane fusion protein, an ATP-binding cassette transporter, and an outer membrane protein, respectively, of bacterial type I secretion systems. The fourth gene, raxST, encodes a sulfotransferase-like protein. Sequence analysis of three naturally occurring X. oryzae pv. oryzae strains no longer recognized by Xa21 revealed alterations in the raxST and raxA genes. The raxC gene complemented an Escherichia coli
tolC mutant for secretion of a double glycine-leader peptide confirming the function of raxC in type I secretion. These results indicate that bacterial type I secretion is necessary for Xa21-mediated recognition and immunity and further suggest that type I secretion and modification of pathogen-associated molecules play an important role in triggering the innate immune response in rice.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society