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PNAS 104 (29): 12217-12222

Copyright © 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences.


The receptor-like kinase SERK3/BAK1 is a central regulator of innate immunity in plants

Antje Heese*,{dagger}, Dagmar R. Hann{ddagger}, Selena Gimenez-Ibanez{ddagger}, Alexandra M. E. Jones{ddagger}, Kai He§, Jia Li§, Julian I. Schroeder, Scott C. Peck{ddagger},||, and John P. Rathjen{dagger},{ddagger}

*Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, 540G Bond Life Sciences Center,1201 Rollins Road, Columbia, MO 65211; {ddagger}The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Colney Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom; §Department of Botany and Microbiology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019; and Division of Biological Sciences, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0346

Communicated by David Baulcombe, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, United Kingdom, June 6, 2007

Received for publication May 25, 2007.

Abstract: In pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI), plant cell surface receptors sense potential microbial pathogens by recognizing elicitors called PAMPs. Although diverse PAMPs trigger PTI through distinct receptors, the resulting intracellular responses overlap extensively. Despite this, a common component(s) linking signal perception with transduction remains unknown. In this study, we identify SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS RECEPTOR KINASE (SERK)3/brassinosteroid-associated kinase (BAK)1, a receptor-like kinase previously implicated in hormone signaling, as a component of plant PTI. In Arabidopsis thaliana, AtSERK3/BAK1 rapidly enters an elicitor-dependent complex with FLAGELLIN SENSING 2 (FLS2), the receptor for the bacterial PAMP flagellin and its peptide derivative flg22. In the absence of AtSERK3/BAK1, early flg22-dependent responses are greatly reduced in both A. thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana. Furthermore, N. benthamiana Serk3/Bak1 is required for full responses to unrelated PAMPs and, importantly, for restriction of bacterial and oomycete infections. Thus, SERK3/BAK1 appears to integrate diverse perception events into downstream PAMP responses, leading to immunity against a range of invading microbes.

Key Words: flg22 • Arabidopsis • nicotiana • Flagellin • brassinosteroid

Author contributions: A.H. and D.R.H. contributed equally to this work; A.H., D.R.H., and J.P.R. designed research; A.H., D.R.H., S.G.-I., and A.M.E.J. performed research; A.H., D.R.H., S.G.-I., K.H., J.L., J.I.S., S.C.P., and J.P.R. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; A.H., D.R.H., S.G.-I., A.M.E.J., S.C.P., and J.P.R. analyzed data; and A.H., D.R.H., and J.P.R. wrote the paper.

||Present address: Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, 271H Bond Life Sciences Center, 1201 Rollins Road, Columbia, MO 65211.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Data deposition: The sequences reported in this paper have been deposited in the GenBank database [accession nos. CK291393 (NbSerk3) and CK291392 (NbSerk2)].

This article contains supporting information online at

{dagger}To whom correspondence may be addressed. E-mail: heesea{at} or john.rathjen{at}

© 2007 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA

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E. F. Fradin, Z. Zhang, J. C. Juarez Ayala, C. D.M. Castroverde, R. N. Nazar, J. Robb, C.-M. Liu, and B. P.H.J. Thomma (2009)
Plant Physiology 150, 320-332
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Expression of the SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE1 (SERK1) gene is associated with developmental change in the life cycle of the model legume Medicago truncatula.
K. E. Nolan, S. Kurdyukov, and R. J. Rose (2009)
J. Exp. Bot. 60, 1759-1771
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Xanthomonas T3S Effector XopN Suppresses PAMP-Triggered Immunity and Interacts with a Tomato Atypical Receptor-Like Kinase and TFT1.
J.-G. Kim, X. Li, J. A. Roden, K. W. Taylor, C. D. Aakre, B. Su, S. Lalonde, A. Kirik, Y. Chen, G. Baranage, et al. (2009)
PLANT CELL 21, 1305-1323
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases 3 and 6 Are Required for Full Priming of Stress Responses in Arabidopsis thaliana.
G. J.M. Beckers, M. Jaskiewicz, Y. Liu, W. R. Underwood, S. Y. He, S. Zhang, and U. Conrath (2009)
PLANT CELL 21, 944-953
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
A Rice Kinase-Protein Interaction Map.
X. Ding, T. Richter, M. Chen, H. Fujii, Y. S. Seo, M. Xie, X. Zheng, S. Kanrar, R. A. Stevenson, C. Dardick, et al. (2009)
Plant Physiology 149, 1478-1492
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Xanthomonas campestris Overcomes Arabidopsis Stomatal Innate Immunity through a DSF Cell-to-Cell Signal-Regulated Virulence Factor.
G. E. Gudesblat, P. S. Torres, and A. A. Vojnov (2009)
Plant Physiology 149, 1017-1027
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Tyrosine phosphorylation of the BRI1 receptor kinase emerges as a component of brassinosteroid signaling in Arabidopsis.
M.-H. Oh, X. Wang, U. Kota, M. B. Goshe, S. D. Clouse, and S. C. Huber (2009)
PNAS 106, 658-663
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Glucosinolate Metabolites Required for an Arabidopsis Innate Immune Response.
N. K. Clay, A. M. Adio, C. Denoux, G. Jander, and F. M. Ausubel (2009)
Science 323, 95-101
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Arabidopsis SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS RECEPTOR KINASE Proteins Serve Brassinosteroid-Dependent and -Independent Signaling Pathways.
C. Albrecht, E. Russinova, B. Kemmerling, M. Kwaaitaal, and S. C. de Vries (2008)
Plant Physiology 148, 611-619
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Plasma Membrane Receptor Complexes.
J. Aker and S. C. de Vries (2008)
Plant Physiology 147, 1560-1564
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Plant Receptors Go Endosomal: A Moving View on Signal Transduction.
N. Geldner and S. Robatzek (2008)
Plant Physiology 147, 1565-1574
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BSKs Mediate Signal Transduction from the Receptor Kinase BRI1 in Arabidopsis.
W. Tang, T.-W. Kim, J. A. Oses-Prieto, Y. Sun, Z. Deng, S. Zhu, R. Wang, A. L. Burlingame, and Z.-Y. Wang (2008)
Science 321, 557-560
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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