TRR 356 Plant Microbe

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Diversification of the BIR receptor kinase family and its impact on plant health and crop yield


BAK1-INTERACTING RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE 1 (BIR) proteins are negative regulators of receptor-kinase complex formation of their co-receptor BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1)-ASSOCIATED KINASE (BAK1) and negative regulators of cell death by interaction with nucleotide binding leucine-rich repeat receptor (NLR) proteins. Thereby, they are linking surface pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) receptors to intracellular effector-triggered immunity (ETI) receptors.

Within the BIR protein family the two traits i) interaction with BAK1 and suppression of BAK1 complex formation and ii) cell death control are developing antagonistically. Molecular evolution drives diversification of molecular traits, often after reduplication of the functional gene. New functions evolve because of redundant genes under selective pressure. Efficient new functions are optimized and persist, while inefficient innovations are not under positive selective pressure and get lost.

The question is why and how the two molecular traits in the BIR protein family are diversifying, what is the selective pressure on the family evolution, and what is the impact of the innovation and diversification on plant health and crop yield.

We will identify genetic sequence adaptations underlying the different traits in the BIR protein family and study the effect of these sequence modifications on the structural interaction platform of BIRs with receptor kinases and NLR proteins.


Principal Investigator: PD Dr. Brigit Kemmerling, ZMBP - Center for Plant Molecular Biology