Most plant disease resistance (R) proteins contain a series of leucine-rich repeats (LRRs), a nucleotide-binding site (NBS), and a putative amino-terminal signaling domain. They are termed NBS-LRR proteins. The LRRs of a wide variety of proteins from many organisms serve as protein interaction platforms, and as regulatory modules of protein activation. Genetically, the LRRs of plant R proteins are determinants of response specificity, and their action can lead to plant cell death in the form of the familiar hypersensitive response (HR). A total of 149 R genes are potentially expressed in the Arabidopsis genome, and plant cells must deal with the difficult task of assembling many of the proteins encoded by these genes into functional signaling complexes. Eukaryotic cells utilize several strategies to deal with this problem. First, proteins are spatially restricted to their sub-cellular site of function, thus improving the probability that they will interact with their proper partners. Second, these interactions are architecturally organized to avoid inappropriate signaling events and to maintain the fidelity and efficiency of the response when it is initiated. Recent results provide new insights into how the signaling potential of R proteins might be created, managed and held in check until specific stimulation following infection. Nevertheless, the roles of the R protein partners in these regulatory events that have been defined to date are unclear.