Open Access

R proteins as fundamentals of plant innate immunity

  • Sylwester Głowacki1,
  • Violetta K. Macioszek1 and
  • Andrzej K. Kononowicz1Email author
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201016:24

DOI: 10.2478/s11658-010-0024-2

Received: 15 December 2009

Accepted: 16 June 2010

Published: 29 June 2010


Plants are attacked by a wide spectrum of pathogens, being the targets of viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and insects. Over the course of their evolution, plants have developed numerous defense mechanisms including the chemical and physical barriers that are constitutive elements of plant cell responses locally and/or systemically. However, the modern approach in plant sciences focuses on the evolution and role of plant protein receptors corresponding to specific pathogen effectors. The recognition of an invader’s molecules could be in most cases a prerequisite sine qua non for plant survival. Although the predicted three-dimensional structure of plant resistance proteins (R) is based on research on their animal homologs, advanced technologies in molecular biology and bioinformatics tools enable the investigation or prediction of interaction mechanisms for specific receptors with pathogen effectors. Most of the identified R proteins belong to the NBS-LRR family. The presence of other domains (including the TIR domain) apart from NBS and LRR is fundamental for the classification of R proteins into subclasses. Recently discovered additional domains (e.g. WRKY) of R proteins allowed the examination of their localization in plant cells and the role they play in signal transduction during the plant resistance response to biotic stress factors. This review focuses on the current state of knowledge about the NBS-LRR family of plant R proteins: their structure, function and evolution, and the role they play in plant innate immunity.

Key words

Plant innate immunity Pathogen recognition Plant resistance proteins