Disease resistance (R) genes have been isolated from many plant species. Most encode nucleotide binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins that trigger a rapid localized programmed cell death called the hypersensitive response (HR) upon pathogen recognition. Despite their structural similarities, different NLR are distributed in a range of subcellular locations, and analogous domains play diverse functional roles. The autoactive maize NLR gene Rp1-D21 derives from an intragenic recombination between two NLR genes, Rp1-D and Rp1-dp2, and confers a HR independent of the presence of a pathogen. Rp1-D21 and its N-terminal coiled coil (CC) domain (CCD21) confer autoactive HR when transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana. Rp1-D21 was predominantly localized in cytoplasm with a small amount in the nucleus, while CCD21 was localized in both nucleus and cytoplasm. Targeting of Rp1-D21 or CCD21 predominantly to either the nucleus or the cytoplasm abolished HR-inducing activity. Coexpression of Rp1-D21 or CCD21 constructs confined, respectively, to the nucleus and cytoplasm did not rescue full activity, suggesting nucleocytoplasmic movement was important for HR induction. This work emphasizes the diverse structural and subcellular localization requirements for activity found among plant NLR R genes.