Recognition of pathogens by plants is mediated by several distinct families of functionally variable but structurally related disease resistance ( R ) genes. The largest family is defined by the presence of a putative nucleotide binding domain and 12 to 21 leucine-rich repeats (LRRs). The function of these LRRs has not been defined, but they are speculated to bind pathogen-derived ligands. We have isolated a mutation in the Arabidopsis RPS5 gene that indicates that the LRR region may interact with other plant proteins. The rps5-1 mutation causes a glutamate-to-lysine substitution in the third LRR and partially compromises the function of several R genes that confer bacterial and downy mildew resistance. The third LRR is relatively well conserved, and we speculate that it may interact with a signal transduction component shared by multiple R gene pathways.
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