Nucleotide-binding leucine-rich-repeat (LRR) receptors (NLRs) with non-canonical integrated domains (NLR-IDs) are widespread in plant genomes. Zinc-finger BED (named after the Drosophila
proteins Boundary Element-Associated Factor and DNA Replication-related Element binding Factor, named BED hereafter) are among the most frequently found IDs. Five BED-NLRs conferring resistance against bacterial and fungal pathogens have been characterized. However, it is unknown whether BED-NLRs function in a manner similar to other NLR-IDs. Here, we used chromosome-level assemblies of wheat to explore the Yr7
genomic regions and show that, unlike known NLR-ID loci, there is no evidence for a NLR-partner in their vicinity. Using neighbor-network analyses, we observed that BED domains from BED-NLRs share more similarities with BED domains from single-BED proteins and from BED-containing proteins harboring domains that are conserved in transposases. We identified a nuclear localization signal (NLS) in Yr7, Yr5, and the other characterized BED-NLRs. We thus propose that this is a feature of BED-NLRs that confer resistance to plant pathogens. We show that the NLS was functional in truncated versions of the Yr7 protein when expressed in N. benthamiana
. We did not observe cell-death upon the overexpression of Yr7 full-length, truncated, and ‘MHD’ variants in N. benthamiana
. This suggests that either this system is not suitable to study BED-NLR signaling or that BED-NLRs require additional components to trigger cell death. These results define novel future directions to further understand the role of BED domains in BED-NLR mediated resistance.
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