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1.  The role of NOI-domain containing proteins in plant immune signaling 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:327.
Here we present an overview of our existing knowledge on the function of RIN4 as a regulator of plant defense and as a guardee of multiple plant R-proteins. Domain analysis of RIN4 reveals two NOI domains. The NOI domain was originally identified in a screen for nitrate induced genes. The domain is comprised of approximately 30 amino acids and contains 2 conserved motifs (PXFGXW and Y/FTXXF). The NOI gene family contains members exclusively from the plant lineage as far back as moss. In addition to the conserved NOI domain, members within the family also contain conserved C-terminal cysteine residue(s) which are sites for acylation and membrane tethering. Other than these two characteristic features, the sequence of the family of NOI-containing proteins is diverse and, with the exception of RIN4, their functions are not known. Recently published interactome data showing interactions between RIN4 and components of the exocyst complex prompt us to raise the hypothesis that RIN4 might be involved in defense associated vesicle trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3661340  PMID: 23672422
2.  Homo-dimerization and ligand binding by the leucine-rich repeat domain at RHG1/RFS2 underlying resistance to two soybean pathogens 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:43.
The protein encoded by GmRLK18-1 (Glyma_18_02680 on chromosome 18) was a receptor like kinase (RLK) encoded within the soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) Rhg1/Rfs2 locus. The locus underlies resistance to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) Heterodera glycines (I.) and causal agent of sudden death syndrome (SDS) Fusarium virguliforme (Aoki). Previously the leucine rich repeat (LRR) domain was expressed in Escherichia coli.
The aims here were to evaluate the LRRs ability to; homo-dimerize; bind larger proteins; and bind to small peptides. Western analysis suggested homo-dimers could form after protein extraction from roots. The purified LRR domain, from residue 131–485, was seen to form a mixture of monomers and homo-dimers in vitro. Cross-linking experiments in vitro showed the H274N region was close (<11.1 A) to the highly conserved cysteine residue C196 on the second homo-dimer subunit. Binding constants of 20–142 nM for peptides found in plant and nematode secretions were found. Effects on plant phenotypes including wilting, stem bending and resistance to infection by SCN were observed when roots were treated with 50 pM of the peptides. Far-Western analyses followed by MS showed methionine synthase and cyclophilin bound strongly to the LRR domain. A second LRR from GmRLK08-1 (Glyma_08_g11350) did not show these strong interactions.
The LRR domain of the GmRLK18-1 protein formed both a monomer and a homo-dimer. The LRR domain bound avidly to 4 different CLE peptides, a cyclophilin and a methionine synthase. The CLE peptides GmTGIF, GmCLE34, GmCLE3 and HgCLE were previously reported to be involved in root growth inhibition but here GmTGIF and HgCLE were shown to alter stem morphology and resistance to SCN. One of several models from homology and ab-initio modeling was partially validated by cross-linking. The effect of the 3 amino acid replacements present among RLK allotypes, A87V, Q115K and H274N were predicted to alter domain stability and function. Therefore, the LRR domain of GmRLK18-1 might underlie both root development and disease resistance in soybean and provide an avenue to develop new variants and ligands that might promote reduced losses to SCN.
PMCID: PMC3626623  PMID: 23497186
Receptor; Leucine-rich repeat; Ligand; Peptide; Cross-link; Predicted
3.  The receptor like kinase at Rhg1-a/Rfs2 caused pleiotropic resistance to sudden death syndrome and soybean cyst nematode as a transgene by altering signaling responses 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:368.
Soybean (Glycine max (L. Merr.)) resistance to any population of Heterodera glycines (I.), or Fusarium virguliforme (Akoi, O’Donnell, Homma & Lattanzi) required a functional allele at Rhg1/Rfs2. H. glycines, the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) was an ancient, endemic, pest of soybean whereas F. virguliforme causal agent of sudden death syndrome (SDS), was a recent, regional, pest. This study examined the role of a receptor like kinase (RLK) GmRLK18-1 (gene model Glyma_18_02680 at 1,071 kbp on chromosome 18 of the genome sequence) within the Rhg1/Rfs2 locus in causing resistance to SCN and SDS.
A BAC (B73p06) encompassing the Rhg1/Rfs2 locus was sequenced from a resistant cultivar and compared to the sequences of two susceptible cultivars from which 800 SNPs were found. Sequence alignments inferred that the resistance allele was an introgressed region of about 59 kbp at the center of which the GmRLK18-1 was the most polymorphic gene and encoded protein. Analyses were made of plants that were either heterozygous at, or transgenic (and so hemizygous at a new location) with, the resistance allele of GmRLK18-1. Those plants infested with either H. glycines or F. virguliforme showed that the allele for resistance was dominant. In the absence of Rhg4 the GmRLK18-1 was sufficient to confer nearly complete resistance to both root and leaf symptoms of SDS caused by F. virguliforme and provided partial resistance to three different populations of nematodes (mature female cysts were reduced by 30–50%). In the presence of Rhg4 the plants with the transgene were nearly classed as fully resistant to SCN (females reduced to 11% of the susceptible control) as well as SDS. A reduction in the rate of early seedling root development was also shown to be caused by the resistance allele of the GmRLK18-1. Field trials of transgenic plants showed an increase in foliar susceptibility to insect herbivory.
The inference that soybean has adapted part of an existing pathogen recognition and defense cascade (H.glycines; SCN and insect herbivory) to a new pathogen (F. virguliforme; SDS) has broad implications for crop improvement. Stable resistance to many pathogens might be achieved by manipulation the genes encoding a small number of pathogen recognition proteins.
PMCID: PMC3439264  PMID: 22857610
Segregation; Pleiotropy; Rhg1/Rfs2; Soybean; Resistance; Soybean cyst nematode (SCN); Sudden death syndrome (SDS); Insect herbivory
4.  Specific threonine phosphorylation of a host target by two unrelated type III effectors activates a host innate immune receptor in plants 
Cell host & microbe  2011;9(2):125-136.
The Arabidopsis NB-LRR immune receptor RPM1 recognizes the Pseudomonas syringae type III effectors AvrB or AvrRpm1 to mount an immune response. Although neither effector is itself a kinase, AvrRpm1 and AvrB are known to target Arabidopsis RIN4, a negative regulator of basal plant defense, for phosphorylation. We show that RIN4 phosphorylation activates RPM1. RIN4142–176 is necessary, and with appropriate localization sequences, sufficient to support effector-triggered RPM1 activation, with the threonine residue at position 166 being critical. Phosphomimic substitutions at T166 cause effector-independent RPM1 activation. RIN4 T166 is phosphorylated in vivo in the presence of AvrB or AvrRpm1. RIN4 mutants that lose interaction with AvrB cannot be co-immunoprecipitated with RPM1. This defines a common interaction platform required for RPM1 activation by phosphorylated RIN4 in response to pathogenic effectors. Conservation of an analogous threonine across all RIN4-like proteins suggests a key function for this residue beyond the regulation of RPM1.
PMCID: PMC3061827  PMID: 21320695
5.  The Soybean Genome Database (SoyGD): a browser for display of duplicated, polyploid, regions and sequence tagged sites on the integrated physical and genetic maps of Glycine max 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;34(Database issue):D758-D765.
Genomes that have been highly conserved following increases in ploidy (by duplication or hybridization) like Glycine max (soybean) present challenges during genome analysis. At the Soybean Genome Database (SoyGD) genome browser has, since 2002, integrated and served the publicly available soybean physical map, bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) fingerprint database and genetic map associated genomic data. The browser shows both build 3 and build 4 contiguous sets of clones (contigs) of the soybean physical map. Build 4 consisted of 2854 contigs that encompassed 1.05 Gb and 404 high-quality DNA markers that anchored 742 contigs. Many DNA markers anchored sets of 2–8 different contigs. Each contig in the set represented a homologous region of related sequences. GBrowse was adapted to show sets of homologous contigs at all potential anchor points, spread laterally and prevented from overlapping. About 8064 minimum tiling path (MTP2) clones provided 13 473 BAC end sequences (BES) to decorate the physical map. Analyses of BES placed 2111 gene models, 40 marker anchors and 1053 new microsatellite markers on the map. Estimated sequence tag probes from 201 low-copy gene families located 613 paralogs. The genome browser portal showed each data type as a separate track. Tetraploid, octoploid, diploid and homologous regions are shown clearly in relation to an integrated genetic and physical map.
PMCID: PMC1347413  PMID: 16381975

Results 1-5 (5)