Interaction between domains of a plant NBS-LRR protein in disease resistance-related cell death.
Many plant disease resistance (R) genes encode proteins predicted to have an N-terminal coiled-coil (CC) domain, a central nucleotide-binding site (NBS) domain and a C-terminal leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain. These CC-NBS-LRR proteins recognize specific pathogen-derived products and initiate a resistance response that often includes a type of cell death known as the hypersensitive response (HR). Co-expression of the potato CC-NBS-LRR protein Rx and its elicitor, the PVX coat protein (CP), results in a rapid HR. Surprisingly, co-expression of the LRR and CC-NBS as separate domains also resulted in a CP-dependent HR. Likewise, the CC domain complemented a version of Rx lacking this domain (NBS- LRR). Correspondingly, the LRR domain interacted physically in planta with the CC-NBS, as did CC with NBS-LRR. Both interactions were disrupted in the presence of CP. However, the interaction between CC and NBS-LRR was dependent on a wild-type P-loop motif, whereas the interaction between CC-NBS and LRR was not. We propose that activation of Rx entails sequential disruption of at least two intramolecular interactions.