The most represented group of resistance genes are those of the nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) class. These genes are very numerous in the plant genome, and they often occur in clusters at specific loci following gene duplication and amplification events. To date, hundreds of resistance genes and relatively few quantitative trait loci for plant resistance to pathogens have been mapped in different species, with some also cloned. When these NBS-LRR genes have been physically or genetically mapped, many cases have shown co-localization between resistance loci and NBS-LRR genes. This has allowed the identification of candidate genes for resistance, and the development of molecular markers linked to R genes. This review is focused on recent genomics studies that have described the abundance, distribution and evolution of NBS-LRR genes in plant genomes. Furthermore, in terms of their expression, NBS-LRR genes are under fine regulation by cis- and trans-acting elements. Recent findings have provided insights into the roles of alternative splicing, the ubiquitin/ proteasome system, and miRNAs and secondary siRNAs in the regulation of NBS-LRR gene expression at the post-transcriptional, post-translational and epigenetic levels. The possibility to use this knowledge for genetic improvement of plant resistance to pathogens is discussed. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Marone, D., Russo, M. A., Laidò, G., De Leonardis, A. M., & Mastrangelo, A. M. (2013). Plant nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) genes: Active guardians in host defense responses. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms14047302