The bifunctional plant receptor, OsCERK1, regulates both chitin-triggered immunity and arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in rice

Kana Miyata, Toshinori Kozaki, Yusuke Kouzai, Kenjirou Ozawa, Kazuo Ishii, Erika Asamizu, Yoshihiro Okabe, Yosuke Umehara, Ayano Miyamoto, Yoshihiro Kobae, Kohki Akiyama, Hanae Kaku, Yoko Nishizawa, Naoto Shibuya, Tomomi Nakagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Plants are constantly exposed to threats from pathogenic microbes and thus developed an innate immune system to protect themselves. On the other hand, many plants also have the ability to establish endosymbiosis with beneficial microbes such as arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi or rhizobial bacteria, which improves the growth of host plants. How plants evolved these systems managing such opposite plant-microbe interactions is unclear. We show here that knockout (KO) mutants of OsCERK1, a rice receptor kinase essential for chitin signaling, were impaired not only for chitin-triggered defense responses but also for AM symbiosis, indicating the bifunctionality of OsCERK1 in defense and symbiosis. On the other hand, a KO mutant of OsCEBiP, which forms a receptor complex with OsCERK1 and is essential for chitin-triggered immunity, established mycorrhizal symbiosis normally. Therefore, OsCERK1 but not chitin-triggered immunity is required for AM symbiosis. Furthermore, experiments with chimeric receptors showed that the kinase domains of OsCERK1 and homologs from non-leguminous, mycorrhizal plants could trigger nodulation signaling in legume-rhizobium interactions as the kinase domain of Nod factor receptor1 (NFR1), which is essential for triggering the nodulation program in leguminous plants, did. Because leguminous plants are believed to have developed the rhizobial symbiosis on the basis of AM symbiosis, our results suggest that the symbiotic function of ancestral CERK1 in AM symbiosis enabled the molecular evolution to leguminous NFR1 and resulted in the establishment of legume-rhizobia symbiosis. These results also suggest that OsCERK1 and homologs serve as a molecular switch that activates defense or symbiotic responses depending on the infecting microbes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1864-1872
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 27 2014


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Defense
  • Lotus japonicus
  • Rhizobia
  • Rice
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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