Structure-informed insights for NLR functioning in plant immunity

Octavina Citra Ayudhany Sukarta, Erik J. Slootweg, Aska Goverse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


To respond to foreign invaders, plants have evolved a cell autonomous multilayered immune system consisting of extra- and intracellular immune receptors. Nucleotide binding and oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs) mediate recognition of pathogen effectors inside the cell and trigger a host specific defense response, often involving controlled cell death. NLRs consist of a central nucleotide-binding domain, which is flanked by an N-terminal CC or TIR domain and a C-terminal leucine-rich repeat domain (LRR). These multidomain proteins function as a molecular switch and their activity is tightly controlled by intra and inter-molecular interactions. In contrast to metazoan NLRs, the structural basis underlying NLR functioning as a pathogen sensor and activator of immune responses in plants is largely unknown. However, the first crystal structures of a number of plant NLR domains were recently obtained. In addition, biochemical and structure-informed analyses revealed novel insights in the cooperation between NLR domains and the formation of pre- and post activation complexes, including the coordinated activity of NLR pairs as pathogen sensor and executor of immune responses. Moreover, the discovery of novel integrated domains underscores the structural diversity of NLRs and provides alternative models for how these immune receptors function in plants. In this review, we will highlight these recent advances to provide novel insights in the structural, biochemical and molecular aspects involved in plant NLR functioning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-149
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Cell death
  • Disease resistance
  • Effector
  • Molecular switch
  • NB-LRR immune receptor
  • Pathogen recognition


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