Nitrogen fixation mutants of Medicago truncatula fail to support plant and bacterial symbiotic gene expression

Colby G. Starker, Adriana L. Parra-Colmenares, Lucinda Smith, Raka M. Mitra, Sharon R. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Rhizobium-legume symbiosis culminates in the exchange of nutrients in the root nodule. Bacteria within the nodule reduce molecular nitrogen for plant use and plants provide bacteria with carbon-containing compounds. Following the initial signaling events that lead to plant infection, little is known about the plant requirements for establishment and maintenance of the symbiosis. We screened 44,000 M2 plants from fast neutron-irradiated Medicago truncatula seeds and isolated eight independent mutant lines that are defective in nitrogen fixation. The eight mutants are monogenic and represent seven complementation groups. To monitor bacterial status in mutant nodules, we assayed Sinorhizobium meliloti symbiosis gene promoters (nodF, exoY, bacA, and nifH) in the defective in nitrogen fixation mutants. Additionally, we used an Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarray to monitor gene expression changes in wild-type and three mutant plants during the nodulation process. These analyses suggest the mutants can be separated into three classes: one class that supports little to no nitrogen fixation and minimal bacterial expression of nifH; another class that supports no nitrogen fixation and minimal bacterial expression of nodF, bacA, and nifH; and a final class that supports low levels of both nitrogen fixation and bacterial nifH expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-680
Number of pages10
JournalPlant physiology
Volume140
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006

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