Interfamily transfer of a plant pattern-recognition receptor confers broad-spectrum bacterial resistance

Séverine Lacombe, Alejandra Rougon-Cardoso, Emma Sherwood, Nemo Peeters, Douglas Dahlbeck, H Peter van Esse, Matthew Smoker, Ghanasyam Rallapalli, Bart P H J Thomma, Brian Staskawicz, Jonathan D G Jones, Cyril Zipfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

400 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-369
Number of pages5
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Plant Diseases
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition

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