CRT1 is a nuclear-translocated MORC endonuclease that participates in multiple levels of plant immunity

Hong Gu Kang, Hyong Woo Choi, Sabrina Von Einem, Patricia Manosalva, Katrin Ehlers, Po Pu Liu, Stefanie V. Buxa, Magali Moreau, Hyong Gon Mang, Pradeep Kachroo, Karl Heinz Kogel, Daniel F. Klessig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Arabidopsis thaliana CRT1 (compromised for recognition of Turnip Crinkle Virus) was previously shown to be required for effector-triggered immunity. Sequence analyses previously revealed that CRT1 contains the ATPase and S5 domains characteristic of Microchidia (MORC) proteins; these proteins are associated with DNA modification and repair. Here we show that CRT1 and its closest homologue, CRH1, are also required for pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity, basal resistance, non-host resistance and systemic acquired resistance. Consistent with its role in PAMP-triggered immunity, CRT1 interacted with the PAMP recognition receptor FLS2. Subcellular fractionation and transmission electron microscopy detected a subpopulation of CRT1 in the nucleus, whose levels increased following PAMP treatment or infection with an avirulent pathogen. These results, combined with the demonstration that CRT1 binds DNA, exhibits endonuclease activity, and affects tolerance to the DNA-damaging agent mitomycin C, argue that this prototypic eukaryotic member of the MORC superfamily has important nuclear functions during immune response activation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1297
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank D’Maris Dempsey for critical comments on the manuscript and Euna Kim for technical support. We thank Andrew Bent for the FLS2 antibody and fls2-101, Xinnian Dong for ssn1, Shauna Somerville for pen2-2, and William Fry for P. infestans. We also thank Birgit Samans and Floyd Weckerly for advice in statistical analysis and Joseph E. Peters, Nihal Dharmasiri, Gregor Langen and Martina Claar for advice, discussion and technical support. This work was supported by grants from NSF (IOB-0641576) to D.F.K. and P.K., NSF (IOS-0820405) to D.F.K., Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Germany to K.H.K., and Texas State University-Faculty Startup Program to H.G.K.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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