The N-terminal domain of the tomato immune protein Prf contains multiple homotypic and Pto kinase interaction sites

J Biol Chem. 2015 May 1;290(18):11258-67. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.616532. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


Resistance to Pseudomonas syringae bacteria in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is conferred by the Prf recognition complex, composed of the nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeats protein Prf and the protein kinase Pto. The complex is activated by recognition of the P. syringae effectors AvrPto and AvrPtoB. The N-terminal domain is responsible for Prf homodimerization, which brings two Pto kinases into close proximity and holds them in inactive conformation in the absence of either effector. Negative regulation is lost by effector binding to the catalytic cleft of Pto, leading to disruption of its P+1 loop within the activation segment. This change is translated through Prf to a second Pto molecule in the complex. Here we describe a schematic model of the unique Prf N-terminal domain dimer and its interaction with the effector binding determinant Pto. Using heterologous expression in Nicotiana benthamiana, we define multiple sites of N domain homotypic interaction and infer that it forms a parallel dimer folded centrally to enable contact between the N and C termini. Furthermore, we found independent binding sites for Pto at either end of the N-terminal domain. Using the constitutively active mutant ptoL205D, we identify a potential repression site for Pto in the first ∼100 amino acids of Prf. Finally, we find that the Prf leucine-rich repeats domain also binds the N-terminal region, highlighting a possible mechanism for transfer of the effector binding signal to the NB-LRR regulatory unit (consisting of a central nucleotide binding and C-terminal leucine-rich repeats).

Keywords: Host-Pathogen Interaction; N-terminal Domain; NB-LRR; Prf Resistance Protein; Protein Complex; Protein Kinase; Protein Structure; Protein-Protein Interaction; Pto Serine/Threonine Kinase; Signal Transduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Leucine
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / immunology*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism*
  • Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Deletion


  • Nucleotides
  • Plant Proteins
  • Pto protein, Lycopersicon
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Leucine