Receptor-like kinase complexes in plant innate immunity

Front Plant Sci. 2012 Aug 24;3:209. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00209. eCollection 2012.


Receptor-like kinases (RLKs) are surface localized, transmembrane receptors comprising a large family of well-studied kinases. RLKs signal through their transmembrane and juxtamembrane domains with the aid of various interacting partners and downstream components. The N-terminal extracellular domain defines ligand specificity, and RLK families are sub-classed according to this domain. The most studied of these subfamilies include those with (1) leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains, (2) LysM domains (LYM), and (3) the Catharanthus roseus RLK1-like (CrRLK1L) domain. These proteins recognize distinct ligands of microbial origin or ligands derived from intracellular protein/carbohydrate signals. For example, the pattern-recognition receptor (PRR) AtFLS2 recognizes flg22 from flagellin, and the PRR AtEFR recognizes elf18 from elongation factor (EF-Tu). Upon binding of their cognate ligands, the aforementioned RLKs activate generic immune responses termed pattern-triggered immunity (PTI). RLKs can form complexes with other family members and engage a variety of intracellular signaling components and regulatory pathways upon stimulation. This review focuses on interesting new data about how these receptors form protein complexes to exert their function.

Keywords: complexes; defense; plant immunity; receptor-like kinases; signaling.