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Structural Basis for flg22-Induced Activation of the Arabidopsis FLS2-BAK1 Immune Complex

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Science  01 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6158, pp. 624-628
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243825

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First Defense

In defense against bacterial infection, plants carry a cell-surface receptor, known as FLS2, that can bind to a fragment of bacterial flagellin and trigger defense responses. Y. Sun et al. (p. 624, published online 10 October) investigated the structural details that govern the binding between FLS2, its co-receptor BAK1, and the flagellin fragment flg22. The assembled complex initiates signals to activate the plant's innate immune response.

Abstract

Flagellin perception in Arabidopsis is through recognition of its highly conserved N-terminal epitope (flg22) by flagellin-sensitive 2 (FLS2). Flg22 binding induces FLS2 heteromerization with BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1–associated kinase 1 (BAK1) and their reciprocal activation followed by plant immunity. Here, we report the crystal structure of FLS2 and BAK1 ectodomains complexed with flg22 at 3.06 angstroms. A conserved and a nonconserved site from the inner surface of the FLS2 solenoid recognize the C- and N-terminal segment of flg22, respectively, without oligomerization or conformational changes in the FLS2 ectodomain. Besides directly interacting with FLS2, BAK1 acts as a co-receptor by recognizing the C terminus of the FLS2-bound flg22. Our data reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying FLS2-BAK1 complex recognition of flg22 and provide insight into the immune receptor complex activation.

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