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, 28 (4), 365-9

Interfamily Transfer of a Plant Pattern-Recognition Receptor Confers Broad-Spectrum Bacterial Resistance

Interfamily Transfer of a Plant Pattern-Recognition Receptor Confers Broad-Spectrum Bacterial Resistance

Séverine Lacombe et al. Nat Biotechnol.

Abstract

Plant diseases cause massive losses in agriculture. Increasing the natural defenses of plants may reduce the impact of phytopathogens on agricultural productivity. Pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) detect microbes by recognizing conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Although the overall importance of PAMP-triggered immunity for plant defense is established, it has not been used to confer disease resistance in crops. We report that activity of a PRR is retained after its transfer between two plant families. Expression of EFR (ref. 4), a PRR from the cruciferous plant Arabidopsis thaliana, confers responsiveness to bacterial elongation factor Tu in the solanaceous plants Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), making them more resistant to a range of phytopathogenic bacteria from different genera. Our results in controlled laboratory conditions suggest that heterologous expression of PAMP recognition systems could be used to engineer broad-spectrum disease resistance to important bacterial pathogens, potentially enabling more durable and sustainable resistance in the field.

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