[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tag1 is an element from the hAT (hobo, Ac, Tam) family of DNA transposable elements present in Arabidopsis thaliana ecotype Landsberg. We have compared its behavior in the A. thaliana ecotype Columbia and in the legume model plant Medicago truncatula. As previously described Tag1 transposed efficiently in A. thaliana ecotype Columbia. In contrast, only somatic excision, but no germinal excision or transposition events could be detected in M. truncatula, indicating that Tag1 is poorly active in this plant. These differences in activity correlated with the absence of two minor Tag1 transcripts in M. truncatula transgenic lines but not with the structure of the T-DNA loci or the methylation of the element. These results indicate that Tag1 is not suitable for insertion mutagenesis in M. truncatula.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The root system architecture is crucial to adapt plant growth to changing soil environmental conditions and consequently to maintain crop yield. In addition to root branching through lateral roots, legumes can develop another organ, the nitrogen-fixing nodule, upon a symbiotic bacterial interaction. A mutant, cra1, showing compact root architecture was identified in the model legume Medicago truncatula. cra1 roots were short and thick due to defects in cell elongation, whereas densities of lateral roots and symbiotic nodules were similar to the wild type. Grafting experiments showed that a lengthened life cycle in cra1 was due to the smaller root system and not to the pleiotropic shoot phenotypes observed in the mutant. Analysis of the cra1 transcriptome at a similar early developmental stage revealed few significant changes, mainly related to cell wall metabolism. The most down-regulated gene in the cra1 mutant encodes a Caffeic Acid O-Methyl Transferase, an enzyme involved in lignin biosynthesis; accordingly, whole lignin content was decreased in cra1 roots. This correlated with differential accumulation of specific flavonoids and decreased polar auxin transport in cra1 mutants. Exogenous application of the isoflavone formononetin to wild-type plants mimicked the cra1 root phenotype, whereas decreasing flavonoid content through silencing chalcone synthases restored the polar auxin transport capacity of the cra1 mutant. The CRA1 gene, therefore, may control legume root growth through the regulation of lignin and flavonoid profiles, leading to changes in polar auxin transport.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have identified an active Medicago truncatula copia-like retroelement called Medicago RetroElement1-1 (MERE1-1) as an insertion in the symbiotic NSP2 gene. MERE1-1 belongs to a low-copy-number family in the sequenced Medicago genome. These copies are highly related, but only three of them have a complete coding region and polymorphism exists between the long terminal repeats of these different copies. This retroelement family is present in all M. truncatula ecotypes tested but also in other legume species like Lotus japonicus. It is active only during tissue culture in both R108 and Jemalong Medicago accessions and inserts preferentially in genes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The symbiotic association between legumes and nitrogen-fixing bacteria collectively known as rhizobia results in the formation of a unique plant root organ called the nodule. This process is initiated following the perception of rhizobial nodulation factors by the host plant. Nod factor (NF)-stimulated plant responses, including nodulation-specific gene expression, is mediated by the NF signaling pathway. Plant mutants in this pathway are unable to nodulate. We describe here the cloning and characterization of two mutant alleles of the Medicago truncatula ortholog of the Lotus japonicus and pea (Pisum sativum) NIN gene. The Mtnin mutants undergo excessive root hair curling but are impaired in infection and fail to form nodules following inoculation with Sinorhizobium meliloti. Our investigation of early NF-induced gene expression using the reporter fusion ENOD11::GUS in the Mtnin-1 mutant demonstrates that MtNIN is not essential for early NF signaling but may negatively regulate the spatial pattern of ENOD11 expression. It was recently shown that an autoactive form of a nodulation-specific calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase is sufficient to induce nodule organogenesis in the absence of rhizobia. We show here that MtNIN is essential for autoactive calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-induced nodule organogenesis. The non-nodulating hcl mutant has a similar phenotype to Mtnin, but we demonstrate that HCL is not required in this process. Based on our data, we suggest that MtNIN functions downstream of the early NF signaling pathway to coordinate and regulate the correct temporal and spatial formation of root nodules.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The organogenesis of nitrogen-fixing nodules in legume plants is initiated in specific root cortical cells and regulated by long-distance signaling and carbon allocation. Here, we explore cell-to-cell communication processes that occur during nodule initiation in Medicago species and their functional relevance using a combination of fluorescent tracers, electron microscopy, and transgenic plants. Nodule initiation induced symplasmic continuity between the phloem and nodule initials. Macromolecules such as green fluorescent protein could traffic across short or long distances from the phloem into these primordial cells. The created symplasmic field was regulated throughout nodule development. Furthermore, Medicago truncatula transgenic plants expressing a viral movement protein showed increased nodulation. Hence, the establishment of this symplasmic field may be a critical element for the control of nodule organogenesis.
The Plant Cell 01/2004; 15(12):2778-91. · 9.25 Impact Factor