Widespread premature transcription termination of Arabidopsis thaliana NLR genes by the spen protein FPA


Genes involved in disease resistance are some of the fastest evolving and most diverse components of genomes. Large numbers of nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) genes are found in plant genomes and are required for disease resistance. However, NLRs can trigger autoimmunity, disrupt beneficial microbiota or reduce fitness. It is therefore crucial to understand how NLRs are controlled. Here we show that the RNA-binding protein FPA mediates widespread premature cleavage and polyadenylation of NLR transcripts, thereby controlling their functional expression and impacting immunity. Using long-read Nanopore direct RNA sequencing, we resolved the complexity of NLR transcript processing and gene annotation. Our results uncover a co-transcriptional layer of NLR control with implications for understanding the regulatory and evolutionary dynamics of NLRs in the immune responses of plants.