Double Success for Rafal Zdrzalek

Rafal Zdrzalek, a DTP student based at the John Innes Centre, has recently published two papers, being co-author in one and first author on another.

Raf is a co-author of a review published in JBC: “A molecular roadmap to plant immune system” (doi: 10.1074/jbc.REV120.010852). In this work, they review current knowledge about plant immunity, focusing on cell-surface and intracellular receptors, including recent breakthroughs in their structure and function. They also discuss potential of receptor engineering to improve plants’ resistance in the field, that could have significant direct impact on modern agriculture.

In Raf’s first-author paper “The rice NLR pair Pikp-1/Pikp-2 initiates cell death through receptor cooperation rather than negative regulation” (, now published in PLOS-One, he takes a closer look into one genetically linked pair of rice immunity receptors Pikp-1/Pikp-2. The papers shows that they cooperate to deliver the immunity response, which is a different mechanism to other described receptor pairs that are known for working in a negative regulation manner. This extends our understanding of how plants can deploy different strategies to initiate cell death response, which might will help us in the future to improve plants’ resistance to pathogens in a more efficient way.