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This article is part of the Research Topic Mechanisms regulating immunity in plants

Review ARTICLE

Front. Plant Sci., 23 October 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2012.00237

How complex are intracellular immune receptor signaling complexes?

Vera Bonardi1* and Jeffery L. Dangl1,2,3,4,5
  • 1Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 2Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 3Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 4Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 5Carolina Center for Genome Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Nucleotide binding leucine-rich repeat proteins (NLRs) are the major class of intracellular immune receptors in plants. NLRs typically function to specifically recognize pathogen effectors and to initiate and control defense responses that severely limit pathogen growth in plants (termed effector-triggered immunity, or ETI). Despite numerous reports supporting a central role in innate immunity, the molecular mechanisms driving NLR activation and downstream signaling remain largely elusive. Recent reports shed light on the pre- and post-activation dynamics of a few NLR-containing protein complexes. Recent technological advances in the use of proteomics may enable high-resolution definition of immune protein complexes and possible activation-relevant post-translational modifications of the components in these complexes. In this review, we focus on research aimed at characterizing pre- and post-activation NLR protein complexes and the molecular events that follow activation. We discuss the use of new or improved technologies as tools to unveil the molecular mechanisms that define NLR-mediated pathogen recognition.

Keywords: NLR, immune system, protein complex, disease resistance, effector, plant

Citation: Bonardi V and Dangl JL (2012) How complex are intracellular immune receptor signaling complexes? Front. Plant Sci. 3:237. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00237

Received: 02 September 2012; Paper pending published: 20 September 2012;
Accepted: 08 October 2012; Published online: 23 October 2012.

Edited by:

Jacqueline Monaghan, The Sainsbury Laboratory, UK

Reviewed by:

Vardis Ntoukakis, University of Warwick, UK
Frank L. Takken, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Copyright: © 2012 Bonardi and Dangl. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Vera Bonardi, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, CB#3280, 4260 Genome Sciences Building, 250 Bell Tower Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA. e-mail: vbonardi@live.unc.edu