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  1. Abstract

    In plant immunity, a well-orchestrated cascade is initiated by the dimerization of receptor-like kinases (RLKs), followed by the phosphorylation of receptor-like cytoplasmic kinases (RLCKs) and subsequent activation of NADPH oxidases for ROS generation. Recent findings by Zhong et al. illustrated that a maize signaling module comprising ZmWAKL-ZmWIK-ZmBLK1-ZmRBOH4 governs quantitative disease resistance to grey leaf spot, a pervasive fungal disease in maize worldwide, unveiling the conservation of this signaling quartet in plant immunity.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    Sessile plants encode a large number of small peptides and cell surface-resident receptor kinases, most of which have unknown functions. Here, we report that theArabidopsisreceptor kinase MALE DISCOVERER 1-INTERACTING RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE 2 (MIK2) recognizes the conserved signature motif of SERINE-RICH ENDOGENOUS PEPTIDEs (SCOOPs) fromBrassicaceaeplants as well as proteins present in fungalFusariumspp. and bacterialComamonadaceae, and elicits various immune responses. SCOOP signature peptides trigger immune responses and altered root development in a MIK2-dependent manner with a sub-nanomolar sensitivity. SCOOP12 directly binds to the extracellular leucine-rich repeat domain of MIK2 in vivo and in vitro, indicating that MIK2 is the receptor of SCOOP peptides. Perception of SCOOP peptides induces the association of MIK2 and the coreceptors SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS RECEPTOR KINASE 3 (SERK3) and SERK4 and relays the signaling through the cytosolic receptor-like kinasesBOTRYTIS-INDUCED KINASE 1 (BIK1) and AVRPPHB SUSCEPTIBLE1 (PBS1)-LIKE 1 (PBL1). Our study identifies a plant receptor that bears a dual role in sensing the conserved peptide motif from phytocytokines and microbial proteins via a convergent signaling relay to ensure a robust immune response.

     
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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  5. Abstract The hormones salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) often act antagonistically in controlling plant defense pathways in response to hemibiotrophs/biotrophs (hemi/biotroph) and herbivores/necrotrophs, respectively. Threonine deaminase (TD) converts threonine to α-ketobutyrate and ammonia as the committed step in isoleucine (Ile) biosynthesis and contributes to JA responses by producing the Ile needed to make the bioactive JA–Ile conjugate. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants have two TD genes: TD1 and TD2. A defensive role for TD2 against herbivores has been characterized in relation to JA–Ile production. However, it remains unknown whether TD2 is also involved in host defense against bacterial hemi/biotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens. Here, we show that in response to the bacterial pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) flagellin flg22 peptide, an activator of SA-based defense responses, TD2 activity is compromised, possibly through carboxy-terminal cleavage. TD2 knockdown (KD) plants showed increased resistance to the hemibiotrophic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae but were more susceptible to the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea, suggesting TD2 plays opposite roles in response to hemibiotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens. This TD2 KD plant differential response to different pathogens is consistent with SA- and JA-regulated defense gene expression. flg22-treated TD2 KD plants showed high expression levels of SA-responsive genes, whereas TD2 KD plants treated with the fungal PAMP chitin showed low expression levels of JA-responsive genes. This study indicates TD2 acts negatively in defense against hemibiotrophs and positively against necrotrophs and provides insight into a new TD2 function in the elaborate crosstalk between SA and JA signaling induced by pathogen infection. 
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  6. Poly(ADP-ribosyl)lation (PARylation) is a posttranslational modification that plays an important role in a variety of biological processes in both animals and plants. Identification of PARylated substrates is the key to elucidating the regulatory mechanism of PARylation. Several approaches have been developed to identify PARylated substrates over the past decade; however, a reliable and efficient method is needed to demonstrate PARylated proteins. Here, we report a simple and sensitive assay of PARylated proteins using a clickable 6-alkyne-NAD+ analog. The 6-alkyne-NAD+ is incorporated into substrate proteins in the in vitro PARylation assay. The labeled proteins are covalently captured by disulfide azide agarose beads through copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC), cleaved under reducing conditions, and analyzed by immunoblotting. The covalent bonds between the PARylated proteins and azide beads allow high stringent washing to eliminate nonspecific binding. Furthermore, the disulfide linker permits efficient cleavage and recovery of highly enriched PARylated proteins. Therefore, this approach can detect proteins that undergo PARylation at very low levels. 
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  7. Abstract Plant plasma membrane-resident immune receptors regulate plant immunity by recognizing microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), and phytocytokines. Phytocytokines are plant endogenous peptides, which are usually produced in the cytosol and released into the apoplast when plant encounters pathogen infections. Phytocytokines regulate plant immunity through activating an overlapping signaling pathway with MAMPs/DAMPs with some unique features. Here, we highlight the current understanding of phytocytokine production, perception and functions in plant immunity, and discuss how plants and pathogens manipulate phytocytokine signaling for their own benefits during the plant-pathogen warfare. 
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