Calmodulin interacts with MLO protein to regulate defence against mildew in barley Academic Article uri icon


  • In plants, defence against specific isolates of a pathogen can be triggered by the presence of a corresponding race-specific resistance gene, whereas resistance of a more broad-spectrum nature can result from recessive, presumably loss-of-regulatory-function, mutations. An example of the latter are mlo mutations in barley, which have been successful in agriculture for the control of powdery mildew fungus (Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei; Bgh). MLO protein resides in the plasma membrane, has seven transmembrane domains, and is the prototype of a sequence-diversified family unique to plants, reminiscent of the seven-transmembrane receptors in fungi and animals. In animals, these are known as G-protein-coupled receptors and exist in three main families, lacking sequence similarity, that are thought to be an example of molecular convergence. MLO seems to function independently of heterotrimeric G proteins. We have identified a domain in MLO that mediates a Ca2+-dependent interaction with calmodulin in vitro. Loss of calmodulin binding halves the ability of MLO to negatively regulate defence against powdery mildew in vivo. We propose a sensor role for MLO in the modulation of defence reactions.


  • Kim, Min C
  • Panstruga, Ralph
  • Elliott, Candace
  • Müller, Judith
  • Devoto, Alessandra
  • Yoon, Hae W
  • Park, Hyeong C
  • Cho, Moo J
  • Schulze-Lefert, Paul

publication date

  • March 2002

published in