Plant diseases cause massive losses in agriculture. Increasing the natural defenses of plants may reduce the impact of phytopathogens on agricultural productivity. Pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) detect microbes by recognizing conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Although the overall importance of PAMP-triggered immunity for plant defense is established, it has not been used to confer disease resistance in crops. We report that activity of a PRR is retained after its transfer between two plant families. Expression of EFR (ref. 4), a PRR from the cruciferous plant Arabidopsis thaliana, confers responsiveness to bacterial elongation factor Tu in the solanaceous plants Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), making them more resistant to a range of phytopathogenic bacteria from different genera. Our results in controlled laboratory conditions suggest that heterologous expression of PAMP recognition systems could be used to engineer broad-spectrum disease resistance to important bacterial pathogens, potentially enabling more durable and sustainable resistance in the field.
- Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
- Immunity, Innate
- Plant Diseases
- Plants, Genetically Modified
- Receptors, Pattern Recognition