The isolation of a maize cDNA clone that encodes a membrane spanning protein kinase related to the self-incompatibility glycoproteins (SLG) of Brassica and structurally similar to the growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases has recently been reported. Three distinct receptor-like protein kinase (RLK) cDNA clones from Arabidopsis thaliana have now been identified. Two of the Arabidopsis RLK genes encode SLG-related protein kinases but have different patterns of expression: one is expressed predominantly in rosettes while the other is expressed primarily in roots. The third RLK gene contains an extracellular domain that consists of 21 leucine-rich repeats that are analogous to the leucine-rich repeats found in proteins from humans, flies and yeast. The Arabidopsis leucine-rich gene is expressed at equivalent levels in roots and rosettes. These results show that there are several genes in higher plants that encode members of the receptor protein kinase superfamily. The structural diversity and differential expression of these genes suggest that each plays a distinct and possibly important role in cellular signaling in plants.