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Regulation of Tomato Prf by Pto-like Protein Kinases

April 2009 , Volume 22 , Number  4
Pages  391 - 401

Tatiana S. Mucyn,1,2 Ai-Jiuan Wu,1,2 Alexi L. Balmuth,1 Julia Maryam Arasteh,1 and John P. Rathjen1

1The Sainsbury Laboratory, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, U.K.; and 2Department of Biology, CB no. 3280, Coker Hall, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill 27599-3280, U.S.A.

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Accepted 14 December 2008.

Tomato Prf encodes a nucleotide-binding domain shared by Apaf-1, certain R proteins, and CED-4 fused to C-terminal leucine-rich repeats (NBARC-LRR) protein that is required for bacterial immunity to Pseudomonas syringae and sensitivity to the organophosphate fenthion. The signaling pathways involve two highly related protein kinases. Pto kinase mediates direct recognition of the bacterial effector proteins AvrPto or AvrPtoB. Fen kinase is required for fenthion sensitivity and recognition of bacterial effectors related to AvrPtoB. The role of Pto and its association with Prf has been characterized but Fen is poorly described. We show that, similar to Pto, Fen requires N-myristoylation and kinase activity for signaling and interacts with the N-terminal domain of Prf. Thus, the mechanisms of activation of Prf by the respective protein kinases are similar. Prf--Fen interaction is underlined by coregulatory mechanisms in which Prf negatively regulates Fen, most likely by controlling kinase activity. We further characterized negative regulation of Prf by Pto, and show that regulation is mediated by the previously described negative regulatory patch. Remarkably, the effectors released negative regulation of Prf in a manner dependent on Pto kinase activity. The data suggest a model in which Prf associates generally with Pto-like kinases in tightly regulated complexes, which are activated by effector-mediated disruption of negative regulation. Release of negative regulation may be a general feature of activation of NBARC-LRR proteins by cognate effectors.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society