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Plant receptor-like kinase gene family: diversity, function, and signaling

Author(s): Shiu S-H, Bleecker AB


Plant receptor-like kinases (RLKs) are transmembrane proteins with putative amino-terminal extracellular domains and carboxyl-terminal intracellular kinase domains, with striking resemblance in domain organization to the animal receptor tyrosine kinases such as epidermal growth factor receptor. The recently sequenced Arabidopsis genome contains more than 600 RLK homologs, representing nearly 2.5% of the annotated protein-coding genes in Arabidopsis. Although only a handful of these genes have known functions and fewer still have identified ligands or downstream targets, the studies of several RLKs such as CLAVATA1, Brassinosteroid Insensitive 1, Flagellin Insensitive 2, and S-locus receptor kinase provide much-needed information on the functions mediated by members of this large gene family. RLKs control a wide range of processes, including development, disease resistance, hormone perception, and self-incompatibility. Combined with the expression studies and biochemical analysis of other RLKs, more details of RLK function and signaling are emerging.

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