Ben J. C. Cornelissen,1 and
Frank L. W. Takken1
1Molecular Plant Pathology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Accepted 12 April 2012.
Plant resistance (R) proteins mediate race-specific immunity and initiate host defenses that are often accompanied by a localized cell-death response. Most R proteins belong to the nucleotide binding-leucine-rich repeat (NB-LRR) protein family, as they carry a central NB-ARC domain fused to an LRR domain. The coiled-coil (CC) domain at the N terminus of some solanaceous NB-LRR proteins is extended with a solanaceae domain (SD). Tomato Mi-1.2, which confers resistance against nematodes, white flies, psyllids, and aphids, encodes a typical SD-CNL protein. Here, we analyzed the role of the extended N terminus for Mi-1.2 activation. Removal of the first part of the N terminus (Nt1) induced Mi-1.2-mediated cell death that could be suppressed by overexpression of the second half of the N-terminal region. Yet, autoactivating NB-ARC-LRR mutants require in trans coexpression of the N-terminal region to induce cell death, indicating that the N terminus functions both as a negative and as a positive regulator. Based on secondary structure predictions, we could link both activities to three distinct subdomains, a typical CC domain and two novel, structurally-conserved helical subdomains called SD1 and SD2. A negative regulatory function could be assigned to the SD1, whereas SD2 and the CC together function as positive regulators of Mi-1.2-mediated cell death.
© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society