The rice Xa21 gene, which confers resistance to Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae race 6, was isolated by positional cloning. Fifty transgenic rice plants carrying the cloned Xa21 gene display high levels of resistance to the pathogen. The sequence of the predicted protein, which carries both a leucine-rich repeat motif and a serine-threonine kinase-like domain, suggests a role in cell surface recognition of a pathogen ligand and subsequent activation of an intracellular defense response. Characterization of Xa21 should facilitate understanding of plant disease resistance and lead to engineered resistance in rice.