PerspectivePlant Immunity

A pentangular plant inflammasome

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Science  05 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6435, pp. 31-32
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax0174

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Like animals, plants require, and have evolved, a robust innate immune system. Plants can detect and respond to pathogen-derived molecules (effectors) through cell surface receptors and intracellular receptors, typically encoded by disease resistance (R) genes. Analysis of plant genome sequences reveals hundreds of such nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins encoded by putative R genes. How such NLR proteins function has long been a matter of speculation. On page 43 and 44 of this issue, Wang et al. (1) and Wang et al. (2), respectively, end much of the speculation by defining the mechanism of activation for at least one NLR, the Arabidopsis thaliana HOPZ-ACTIVATED RESISTANCE 1 (ZAR1) protein, which activates defense in response to several pathogenic bacterial effectors.