Plants trigger appropriate defense responses, notably, through intracellular nucleotide-binding (NB) and leucine-rich repeat (LRR)-containing receptors (NLRs) that detect secreted pathogen effector proteins. In NLR resistance genes, the toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR)-NB-LRR proteins (TNLs) are an important subfamily, out of which approximately half the members carry a post-LRR (PL) domain of unknown role. We first investigated the requirement of the PL domain for TNL-mediated immune response by mutating the most conserved amino acids across PL domains of Arabidopsis thaliana TNLs. We identified several amino acids in the PL domain of RPS4, required for its ability to trigger a hypersensitive response to AvrRps4 in a Nicotiana tabacum transient assay. Mutating the corresponding amino acids within the PL domain of the tobacco TNL gene N also affected its function. Consequently, our results indicate that the integrity of the PL domain at conserved positions is crucial for at least two unrelated TNLs. We then tested the PL domain specificity for function by swapping PL domains between the paralogs RPS4 and RPS4B. Our results suggest that the PL domain is involved in their TNL pair specificity, ‘off state’ stability, and NLR complex activation. Considering genetically paired Arabidopsis TNLs, we finally compared the PL and TIR domains of their sensor and executor sequences, respectively. While TIR and PL domains from executors present complete motifs, sensors showed a lack of conservation with degenerated motifs. We here provide a contribution to the functional analysis of the PL domain in order to decipher its role for TNL function.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.