Since the characterisation of the gene-for-gene concept in plant disease resistance by Flor in the 1940s, resistance (R) genes have played a central role in breeding resistant crops. Gene-for-gene resistance is now known to be the result of the effector-triggered immunity response in plants. Molecular characterisation of R proteins reveals that they function analogously to the intracellular NOD-like receptors (NLRs) of the animal innate immune system, and are therefore typically referred to as plant NLR proteins.
Bentham et al. compare the structural and functional characteristics of plant and animal NLRs, and draw upon the more extensive structural information available for animal NLRs to help reconcile the current structural and biochemical knowledge available for plant NLRs.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Plant Immunity. It will be free access till June 2017 and after April 2018.