Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2018 ASPB. Plants have many, highly variable resistance (R) gene loci, which provide resistance to a variety of pathogens. The first R gene to be cloned, maize (Zea mays) Hm1, was published over 25 years ago, and since then, many different R genes have been identified and isolated. The encoded proteins have provided clues to the diverse molecular mechanisms underlying immunity. Here, we present a meta-analysis of 314 cloned R genes. The majority of R genes encode cell surface or intracellular receptors, and we distinguish nine molecular mechanisms by which R proteins can elevate or trigger disease resistance: direct (1) or indirect (2) perception of pathogen-derived molecules on the cell surface by receptor-like proteins and receptor-like kinases; direct (3) or indirect (4) intracellular detection of pathogen-derived molecules by nucleotide binding, leucine-rich repeat receptors, or detection through integrated domains (5); perception of transcription activator-like effectors through activation of executor genes (6); and active (7), passive (8), or host reprogramming-mediated (9) loss of susceptibility. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying the functions of R genes are only understood for a small proportion of known R genes, a clearer understanding of mechanisms is emerging and will be crucial for rational engineering and deployment of novel R genes.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant Cell

Publication Date





285 - 299