Arabidopsis Transmembrane Receptor-Like Kinases (RLKs): A Bridge between Extracellular Signal and Intracellular Regulatory Machinery

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jun 3;21(11):4000. doi: 10.3390/ijms21114000.


Receptors form the crux for any biochemical signaling. Receptor-like kinases (RLKs) are conserved protein kinases in eukaryotes that establish signaling circuits to transduce information from outer plant cell membrane to the nucleus of plant cells, eventually activating processes directing growth, development, stress responses, and disease resistance. Plant RLKs share considerable homology with the receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) of the animal system, differing at the site of phosphorylation. Typically, RLKs have a membrane-localization signal in the amino-terminal, followed by an extracellular ligand-binding domain, a solitary membrane-spanning domain, and a cytoplasmic kinase domain. The functional characterization of ligand-binding domains of the various RLKs has demonstrated their essential role in the perception of extracellular stimuli, while its cytosolic kinase domain is usually confined to the phosphorylation of their substrates to control downstream regulatory machinery. Identification of the several ligands of RLKs, as well as a few of its immediate substrates have predominantly contributed to a better understanding of the fundamental signaling mechanisms. In the model plant Arabidopsis, several studies have indicated that multiple RLKs are involved in modulating various types of physiological roles via diverse signaling routes. Here, we summarize recent advances and provide an updated overview of transmembrane RLKs in Arabidopsis.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; development; kinase; receptor; stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Ligands
  • Phosphorylation
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Protein Domains
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases