In plants, several types of receptor-like kinases (RLK) have been isolated and characterized based on the sequence of their extracellular domains. Some of these RLKs have been demonstrated to be involved in plant development or in the reaction to environmental signals. Here, we describe a RLK gene family in wheat (wlrk, wheat leaf rust kinase) with a new type of extracellular domain. A member of this new gene family has previously been shown to cosegregate with the leaf rust resistance gene Lr10. The diversity of the wlrk gene family was studied by cloning the extracellular domain of different members of the family. Sequence comparisons demonstrated that the extracellular domain consists of three very conserved regions interrupted by three variable regions. Linkage analysis indicated that the wlrk genes are specifically located on chromosome group 1 in wheat and on the corresponding chromosomes of other members of the Triticeae family. The wlrk genes are constitutively expressed in the aerial parts of the plant whereas no expression was detected in roots. Protein immunoblots demonstrated that the WLRK protein coded by the Lrk10 gene is an intrinsic plasma membrane protein. This is consistent with the hypothesis that WLRK proteins are receptor protein kinases localized to the cell surface. In addition, we present preliminary evidence that other disease resistance loci in wheat contain genes which are related to wlrk.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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