The oomycete microbe-associated molecular pattern Pep-13 triggers SERK3/BAK1-independent plant immunity

Haixia Wang, Huan He, Yetong Qi, Hazel McLellan, Zhejuan Tian, Paul R. J. Birch, Zhendong Tian (Lead / Corresponding author)

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11 Citations (Scopus)
276 Downloads (Pure)


To prevent disease, pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) are responsible for detecting microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) to switch on plant innate immunity. SOMATIC EMBROYOGENESIS KINASE 3 (SERK3)/BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1) is a well-characterized receptor-like kinase (RLK) that serves as a pivotal co-receptor with PRRs to activate immunity following recognition of MAMPs including flg22, EF-Tu, INF1 and XEG1. However, the requirement for SERK3/BAK1 in many pattern-triggered immune (PTI) signaling pathways is not yet known. Pep-13 is an oomycete MAMP that consists of a highly conserved motif (an oligopeptide of 13 amino acids) shared in Phytophthora transglutaminases. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis reveals that the transcripts of three PTI marker genes (WRKY7, WRKY8 and ACRE31) rapidly accumulate in response to three different MAMPs: flg22, chitin and Pep-13. Whereas silencing of SERK3/BAK1 in Nicotiana benthamiana or potato compromised transcript accumulation in response to flg22, it did not attenuate WRKY7, WRKY8 and ACRE31 up-regulation in response to chitin or Pep-13. This indicates that Pep-13 triggers immunity in a SERK3/BAK1-independent manner, similar to chitin. Surprisingly, silencing of SERK3/BAK1 led to significantly increased accumulation of PTI marker gene transcripts following Pep-13 or chitin treatment, compared to controls. This was accompanied by reduced expression of brassinosteroid (BR) marker genes StSTDH, StEXP8 and StCAB50 and StCHL1, which is a negative regulator of PTI, supporting previous reports that SERK3/BAK1-dependent BR signaling attenuates plant immunity. We provide Pep-13 as an alternative to chitin as a trigger of SERK3/BAK1-independent immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Disease resistance
  • Flagellin
  • Late blight
  • MAMP
  • Transcriptome
  • Plant Immunity/drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant/drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger/genetics
  • Brassinosteroids/pharmacology
  • Flagellin/pharmacology
  • RNA Interference
  • Alarmins/metabolism
  • Plant Proteins/genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Tobacco/genetics
  • Peptides/pharmacology
  • Chitin/pharmacology
  • Transcription, Genetic/drug effects
  • Solanum tuberosum/genetics
  • Phytophthora infestans/drug effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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