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IGDB Scientists Review Receptor-Like Cytoplasmic Kinases in Plant Signaling
The plant cell is equipped to perceive a variety of extracellular signals, which allows plants to cope with environmental stresses, differentiate beneficial versus pathogenic organisms, and carry out cell-cell communication during growth and development. While it is well-known that plants rely on a large number of receptor kinases (RKs) to perceive diverse molecules, much less is known how these receptors are linked to downstream cellular responses.
Advances in recent years support that receptor-like cytoplasmic kinases (RLCKs), which are similar to the kinase domain of RKs in sequence but lack a receiver domain, play a central role in linking RKs to downstream cellular processes through phosphorylation relay.  
The research team led by Prof. ZHOU Jian-Min at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB), Chinese Academy of Sciences, focuses on RLCKs involved in plant immunity. Recently, Prof. ZHOU and his colleague, Dr. LIANG Xiangxiu, wrote an invited review article entitled “Receptor-Like Cytoplasmic Kinases: Central Players in Plant Receptor Kinase-Mediated Signaling” for Annual Review of Plant Biology (DOI:10.1146/annurev-arplant-042817-040540).
In this review, they drew attention to RLCKs in the regulation of growth and development, immunity, and plant responses to environmental stresses. They summarized current understanding concerning roles of various RLCKs in diverse plant biology, mechanisms by which RLCKs are dynamically regulated, and mechanisms by which RLCKs regulate downstream signaling modules.
They also discussed similarity and specificity of RLCKs in different biological processes, and presented perspectives for future studies of plant RKs and RLCKs.
The work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, and the State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics.
Figure 1. Receptor-like cytoplasmic kinases (RLCKs) act downstream of receptor kinases (RKs) to regulate a variety of biological processes. (Image by IGDB)
Prof. Jian-Min ZHOU
Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing China