Recently, the research group of Professor Wei Zhang (the school of life sciences, Shandong University) reported their new scientific breakthrough in the field of plant stress response, which discovered the new signaling pathways and the molecular mechanisms of plant and pathogenic microorganisms in immune interaction. This work has just been published entitled “The Secreted Peptide PIP1 Amplifies Immunity through Receptor-Like Kinase 7” in Plos Pathogens (2014 Sep 4;10(9):e1004331. Five years IF=8.957.). The first author and the corresponding author of this work is Shuguo Hou and Wei Zhang respectively, and the research for the work was accomplished independently by Shandong University.
As pathogenic microorganisms are one of the most imperative threats to inhibit plant growth and development and limit crop yield, it has important guiding significance to discover signal pathways and mechanisms of interaction between plant and pathogenic microorganisms for the development of modern agriculture with stress tolerance and high yield. During the interaction between plants and pathogenic microorganisms, pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) can be recognized by the pattern recognition receptor (PRR) on the surface of host cells, and then triggers innate immune response of eukaryotic cells. Flagellin which is the most widely studied PAMP, can be recognized by FLS2 receptor in model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and triggers plant immune response, thereby improving plant resistance to be further infected by pathogens. In the past decade, the immune mechanism and signal regulation mechanism triggered by flagellin-FLS2 have been extensively studied, however, as an important plant signal regulator, it is still unknown whether the secretory peptide participates in this immune. In this study, professor Zhang found that the precursor gene prePIP1 of plant secretory peptide could be induced by flagellin, and the encoded precursor peptide could secrete to the extracellular domain, and be cleaved to release C terminal peptide PIP1, which could trigger an immune response similar to the immune response triggered by flagellin. Further analysis of bioinformatics, genetics and biochemistry confirmed that RLK7, a leucine-rich repeat motif receptor kinase, is the receptor of PIP1 and mediates the immune response of PIP1. The result indicated that PIP1-RLK7 regulates the flagellin triggered immunity, and may contribute to the amplification of flagellin signalling.
Professor Wei Zhang is the Distinguished Young Scholar and Principle Investigator of the Key Laboratory of Plant Cell Engineering and Germplasm Innovation, Ministry of Education, Shandong University. His group is mainly engaged in the field of plant stress response and plant cell signaling. Since he joined Shandong university at the end of 2009, Prof. Zhang has done a serial of excellent jobs in his research, and has published these findings as research papers in the international famous high-level academic journals: Plant Cell (five years IF: 10.656), Molecular Plant (five years IF: 6.348), New Phytologist (five years IF: 7.298), Journal of Experimental Botany (five years IF=6.019), Plant Molecular Biology (five years IF=4.61) and etc. This research of the group was financially supported by the Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of Shandong University, the National Key Special Project“Breeding and Cultivation of Novel GM varieties”, the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in National Fund Committee and Ministry of Education and etc.