Inverse modulation of plant immune and brassinosteroid signaling pathways by the receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase BIK1. Academic Article uri icon


  • Maintaining active growth and effective immune responses is often costly for a living organism to survive. Fine-tuning the shared cross-regulators is crucial for metazoans and plants to make a trade-off between growth and immunity. The Arabidopsis regulatory receptor-like kinase BAK1 complexes with the receptor kinases FLS2 in bacterial flagellin-triggered immunity and BRI1 in brassinosteroid (BR)-mediated growth. BR homeostasis and signaling unidirectionally modulate FLS2-mediated immune responses at multiple levels. We have shown previously that BIK1, a receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase, is directly phosphorylated by BAK1 and associates with FLS2/BAK1 complex in transducing flagellin signaling. In contrast to its positive role in plant immunity, we report here that BIK1 acts as a negative regulator in BR signaling. The bik1 mutant displays various BR hypersensitive phenotypes accompanied with increased accumulation of de-phosphorylated BES1 proteins and transcriptional regulation of BZR1 and BES1 target genes. BIK1 associates with BRI1, and is released from BRI1 receptor upon BR treatment, which is reminiscent of FLS2-BIK1 complex dynamics in flagellin signaling. The ligand-induced release of BIK1 from receptor complexes is associated with BIK1 phosphorylation. However, in contrast to BAK1-dependent FLS2-BIK1 dissociation, BAK1 is dispensable for BRI1-BIK1 dissociation. Unlike FLS2 signaling which depends on BAK1 to phosphorylate BIK1, BRI1 directly phosphorylates BIK1 to transduce BR signaling. Thus, BIK1 relays the signaling in plant immunity and BR-mediated growth via distinct phosphorylation by BAK1 and BRI1, respectively. Our studies indicate that BIK1 mediates inverse functions in plant immunity and development via dynamic association with specific receptor complexes and differential phosphorylation events.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, W., Lu, D., Gao, X., Jiang, S., Ma, X., Wang, Z., ... Shan, L.

citation count

  • 131

complete list of authors

  • Lin, Wenwei||Lu, Dongping||Gao, Xiquan||Jiang, Shan||Ma, Xiyu||Wang, Zonghua||Mengiste, Tesfaye||He, Ping||Shan, Libo

publication date

  • July 2013