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What’s new in protein kinase/phosphatase signalling in the control of plant immunity?

Jessica Erickson, Philipp Weckwerth, ,
Published: 20 June 2022

Abstract: Plant immunity is crucial to plant health but comes at an expense. For optimal plant growth, tight immune regulation is required to prevent unnecessary rechannelling of valuable resources. Pattern- and effector-triggered immunity (PTI/ETI) represent the two tiers of immunity initiated after sensing microbial patterns at the cell surface or pathogen effectors secreted into plant cells, respectively. Recent evidence of PTI-ETI cross-potentiation suggests a close interplay of signalling pathways and defense responses downstream of perception that is still poorly understood. This review will focus on controls on plant immunity through phosphorylation, a universal and key cellular regulatory mechanism. Rather than a complete overview, we highlight “what’s new in protein kinase/phosphatase signalling” in the immunity field. In addition to phosphoregulation of components in the pattern recognition receptor (PRR) complex, we will cover the actions of the major immunity-relevant intracellular protein kinases/phosphatases in the ‘signal relay’, namely calcium-regulated kinases (e.g. calcium-dependent protein kinases, CDPKs), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and various protein phosphatases. We discuss how these factors define a phosphocode that generates cellular decision-making ‘logic gates’, which contribute to signalling fidelity, amplitude, and duration. To underscore the importance of phosphorylation, we summarize strategies employed by pathogens to subvert plant immune phosphopathways. In view of recent game-changing discoveries of ETI-derived resistosomes organizing into calcium-permeable pores, we speculate on a possible calcium-regulated phosphocode as the mechanistic control of the PTI-ETI continuum.
Keywords: calcium-dependent protein kinases / kinase / mitogen-activated protein kinases / phosphatase / Phosphocode / signalling

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