[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous analysis of the Lotus histidine kinase1 (Lhk1) cytokinin receptor gene has shown that it is required and also sufficient for nodule formation in Lotus japonicus. The L. japonicus mutant carrying the loss-of-function lhk1-1 allele is hyperinfected by its symbiotic partner, Mesorhizobium loti, in the initial absence of nodule organogenesis. At a later time point following bacterial infection, lhk1-1 develops a limited number of nodules, suggesting the presence of an Lhk1-independent mechanism. We have tested a hypothesis that other cytokinin receptors function in at least a partially redundant manner with LHK1 to mediate nodule organogenesis in L. japonicus. We show here that L. japonicus contains a small family of four cytokinin receptor genes, which all respond to M. loti infection. We show that within the root cortex, LHK1 performs an essential role but also works partially redundantly with LHK1A and LHK3 to mediate cell divisions for nodule primordium formation. The LHK1 receptor is also presumed to partake in mediating a feedback mechanism that negatively regulates bacterial infections at the root epidermis. Interestingly, the Arabidopsis thaliana AHK4 receptor gene can functionally replace Lhk1 in mediating nodule organogenesis, indicating that the ability to perform this developmental process is not determined by unique, legume-specific properties of LHK1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The physiological role of K+-dependent and K+-independent asparaginases in plants remains unclear, and the contribution from individual isoforms during development is
poorly understood. We have used reverse genetics to assess the phenotypes produced by the deficiency of K+-dependent NSE1 asparaginase in the model legume Lotus japonicus. For this purpose, four different mutants were identified by TILLING and characterized, two of which affected the structure
and function of the asparaginase molecule and caused asparagine accumulation. Plant growth and total seed weight of mature
mutant seeds as well as the level of both legumin and convicilin seed storage proteins were affected in the mutants. The mutants
isolated in the present work are the first of their type in legumes and have enabled us to demonstrate the importance of asparagine
and K+-dependent NSE1 asparaginase for nitrogen remobilization and seed production in L. japonicus plants.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Plant and Cell Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metabolism of starch is of central importance for many aspects of plant growth and development. Information on leaf starch metabolism other than in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) is scarce. Furthermore, its importance in several agronomically important traits exemplified by legumes remains to be investigated. To address this issue, we have provided detailed information on the genes involved in starch metabolism in Lotus japonicus and have characterized a comprehensive collection of forward and TILLING (for Targeting Induced Local Lesions IN Genomes) reverse genetics mutants affecting five enzymes of starch synthesis and two enzymes of starch degradation. The mutants provide new insights into the structure-function relationships of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase and glucan, water dikinase1 in particular. Analyses of the mutant phenotypes indicate that the pathways of leaf starch metabolism in L. japonicus and Arabidopsis are largely conserved. However, the importance of these pathways for plant growth and development differs substantially between the two species. Whereas essentially starchless Arabidopsis plants lacking plastidial phosphoglucomutase grow slowly relative to wild-type plants, the equivalent mutant of L. japonicus grows normally even in a 12-h photoperiod. In contrast, the loss of GLUCAN, WATER DIKINASE1, required for starch degradation, has a far greater effect on plant growth and fertility in L. japonicus than in Arabidopsis. Moreover, we have also identified several mutants likely to be affected in new components or regulators of the pathways of starch metabolism. This suite of mutants provides a substantial new resource for further investigations of the partitioning of carbon and its importance for symbiotic nitrogen fixation, legume seed development, and perenniality and vegetative regrowth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Legumes form symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungi and nitrogen fixing root nodule bacteria. Intracellular root infection by either endosymbiont is controlled by the activation of the calcium and calmodulin-dependent kinase (CCaMK), a central regulatory component of the plant's common symbiosis signaling network. We performed a microscopy screen for Lotus japonicus mutants defective in AM development and isolated a mutant, nena, that aborted fungal infection in the rhizodermis. NENA encodes a WD40 repeat protein related to the nucleoporins Sec13 and Seh1. Localization of NENA to the nuclear rim and yeast two-hybrid experiments indicated a role for NENA in a conserved subcomplex of the nuclear pore scaffold. Although nena mutants were able to form pink nodules in symbiosis with Mesorhizobium loti, root hair infection was not observed. Moreover, Nod factor induction of the symbiotic genes NIN, SbtM4, and SbtS, as well as perinuclear calcium spiking, were impaired. Detailed phenotypic analyses of nena mutants revealed a rhizobial infection mode that overcame the lack of rhizodermal responsiveness and carried the hallmarks of crack entry, including a requirement for ethylene. CCaMK-dependent processes were only abolished in the rhizodermis but not in the cortex of nena mutants. These data support the concept of tissue-specific components for the activation of CCaMK.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have established tools for forward and reverse genetic analysis of the legume Lotus (Lotus japonicus). A structured population of M2 progeny of 4,904 ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized M1 embryos is available for single nucleotide polymorphism mutation detection, using a TILLING (for Targeting Induced Local Lesions IN Genomes) protocol. Scanning subsets of this population, we identified a mutation load of one per 502 kb of amplified fragment. Moreover, we observed a 1:10 ratio between homozygous and heterozygous mutations in the M2 progeny. This reveals a clear difference in germline genetics between Lotus and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). In addition, we assembled M2 siblings with obvious phenotypes in overall development, starch accumulation, or nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis in three thematic subpopulations. By screening the nodulation-defective population of M2 individuals for mutations in a set of 12 genes known to be essential for nodule development, we identified large allelic series for each gene, generating a unique data set that combines genotypic and phenotypic information facilitating structure-function studies. This analysis revealed a significant bias for replacements of glycine (Gly) residues in functionally defective alleles, which may be explained by the exceptional structural features of Gly. Gly allows the peptide chain to adopt conformations that are no longer possible after amino acid replacement. This previously unrecognized vulnerability of proteins at Gly residues could be used for the improvement of algorithms that are designed to predict the deleterious nature of single nucleotide polymorphism mutations. Our results demonstrate the power, as well as the limitations, of ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenesis for forward and reverse genetic studies. (Original mutant phenotypes can be accessed at http://data.jic.bbsrc.ac.uk/cgi-bin/lotusjaponicus Access to the Lotus TILLING facility can be obtained through http://www.lotusjaponicus.org or http://revgenuk.jic.ac.uk).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutral/alkaline invertases are a subgroup, confined to plants and cyanobacteria, of a diverse family of enzymes. A family
of seven closely-related genes, LjINV1–LjINV7, is described here and their expression in the model legume, Lotus japonicus, is examined. LjINV1 previously identified as encoding a nodule-enhanced isoform is the predominant isoform present in all parts of the plant.
Mutants for two isoforms, LjINV1 and LjINV2, were isolated using TILLING. A premature stop codon allele of LjINV2 had no effect on enzyme activity nor did it show a visible phenotype. For LjINV1, premature stop codon and missense mutations were obtained and the phenotype of the mutants examined. Recovery of homozygous
mutants was problematic, but their phenotype showed a severe reduction in growth of the root and the shoot, a change in cellular
development, and impaired flowering. The cellular organization of both roots and leaves was altered; leaves were smaller and
thicker with extra layers of cells and roots showed an extended and broader zone of cell division. Moreover, anthers contained
no pollen. Both heterozygotes and homozygous mutants showed decreased amounts of enzyme activity in nodules and shoot tips.
Shoot tips also contained up to a 9-fold increased level of sucrose. However, mutants were capable of forming functional root
nodules. LjINV1 is therefore crucial to whole plant development, but is clearly not essential for nodule formation or function.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · Journal of Experimental Botany
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The brush mutant of Lotus japonicus exhibits a temperature-dependent impairment in nodule, root, and shoot development. At 26 degrees C, brush formed fewer nodules, most of which were not colonized by rhizobia bacteria. Primary root growth was retarded and the anatomy of the brush root apical meristem revealed distorted cellular organization and reduced cell expansion. Reciprocal grafting of brush with wild-type plants indicated that this genotype only affected the root and that the shoot phenotype was a secondary effect. The root and nodulation phenotype cosegregated as a single Mendelian trait and the BRUSH gene could be mapped to the short arm of chromosome 2. At 18 degrees C, the brush root anatomy was rescued and similar to the wild type, and primary root length, number of infection threads, and nodule formation were partially rescued. Superficially, the brush root phenotype resembled the ethylene-related thick short root syndrome. However, treatment with ethylene inhibitor did not recover the observed phenotypes, although brush primary roots were slightly longer. The defects of brush in root architecture and infection thread development, together with intact nodule architecture and complete absence of symptoms from shoots, suggest that BRUSH affects cellular differentiation in a tissue-dependent way.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The initiation of intracellular infection of legume roots by symbiotic rhizobia bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungi is preceded by the induction of calcium signatures in and around the nucleus of root epidermal cells. Although a calcium and calmodulin-dependent kinase (CCaMK) is a key mediator of symbiotic root responses, the decoding of the calcium signal and the molecular events downstream are only poorly understood. Here, we characterize Lotus japonicus cyclops mutants on which microbial infection was severely inhibited. In contrast, nodule organogenesis was initiated in response to rhizobia, but arrested prematurely. This arrest was overcome when a deregulated CCaMK mutant version was introduced into cyclops mutants, conferring the development of full-sized, spontaneous nodules. Because cyclops mutants block symbiotic infection but are competent for nodule development, they reveal a bifurcation of signal transduction downstream of CCaMK. We identified CYCLOPS by positional cloning. CYCLOPS carries a functional nuclear localization signal and a predicted coiled-coil domain. We observed colocalization and physical interaction between CCaMK and CYCLOPS in plant and yeast cell nuclei in the absence of symbiotic stimulation. Importantly, CYCLOPS is a phosphorylation substrate of CCaMK in vitro. Cyclops mutants of rice were impaired in AM, and rice CYCLOPS could restore symbiosis in Lotus cyclops mutants, indicating a functional conservation across angiosperms. Our results suggest that CYCLOPS forms an ancient, preassembled signal transduction complex with CCaMK that is specifically required for infection, whereas organogenesis likely requires additional yet-to-be identified CCaMK interactors or substrates.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2009 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lotus japonicus har1 mutants respond to inoculation with Mesorhizobium loti by forming an excessive number of nodules due to genetic lesions in the HAR1 autoregulatory receptor kinase gene. In order to expand the repertoire of mutants available for the genetic dissection of the root nodule symbiosis (RNS), a screen for suppressors of the L. japonicus har1-1 hypernodulation phenotype was performed. Of 150,000 M2 plants analyzed, 61 stable L. japonicus double-mutant lines were isolated. In the context of the har1-1 mutation, 26 mutant lines were unable to form RNS, whereas the remaining 35 mutant lines carried more subtle symbiotic phenotypes, either forming white ineffective nodules or showing reduced nodulation capacity. When challenged with Glomus intraradices, 18 of the 61 suppressor lines were unable to establish a symbiosis with this arbuscular mycorrhiza fungus. Using a combined approach of genetic mapping, targeting induced local lesions in genomics, and sequencing, all non-nodulating mutant lines were characterized and shown to represent new alleles of at least nine independent symbiotic loci. The class of mutants with reduced nodulation capacity was of particular interest because some of them may specify novel plant functions that regulate nodule development in L. japonicus. To facilitate mapping of the latter class of mutants, an introgression line, in which the har1-1 allele was introduced into a polymorphic background of L. japonicus ecotype MG20, was constructed.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development of molecular tools for the analysis of the plant genetic contribution to rhizobial and mycorrhizal symbiosis has provided major advances in our understanding of plant-microbe interactions, and several key symbiotic genes have been identified and characterized. In order to increase the efficiency of genetic analysis in the model legume Lotus japonicus, we present here a selection of improved genetic tools. The two genetic linkage maps previously developed from an interspecific cross between L. japonicus Gifu and L. filicaulis, and an intraspecific cross between the two ecotypes L. japonicus Gifu and L. japonicus MG-20, were aligned through a set of anchor markers. Regions of linkage groups, where genetic resolution is obtained preferentially using one or the other parental combination, are highlighted. Additional genetic resolution and stabilized mapping populations were obtained in recombinant inbred lines derived by a single seed descent from the two populations. For faster mapping of new loci, a selection of reliable markers spread over the chromosome arms provides a common framework for more efficient identification of new alleles and new symbiotic loci among uncharacterized mutant lines. Combining resources from the Lotus community, map positions of a large collection of symbiotic loci are provided together with alleles and closely linked molecular markers. Altogether, this establishes a common genetic resource for Lotus spp. A web-based version will enable this resource to be curated and updated regularly.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The roots of most higher plants form arbuscular mycorrhiza, an ancient, phosphate-acquiring symbiosis with fungi, whereas only four related plant orders are able to engage in the evolutionary younger nitrogen-fixing root-nodule symbiosis with bacteria. Plant symbioses with bacteria and fungi require a set of common signal transduction components that redirect root cell development. Here we present two highly homologous genes from Lotus japonicus, CASTOR and POLLUX, that are indispensable for microbial admission into plant cells and act upstream of intracellular calcium spiking, one of the earliest plant responses to symbiotic stimulation. Surprisingly, both twin proteins are localized in the plastids of root cells, indicating a previously unrecognized role of this ancient endosymbiont in controlling intracellular symbioses that evolved more recently.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The following protocol provides a high throughput, low cost method of producing a superior DNA yield of high quality which
is suitable for TILLING, map based cloning or any application which requires long term DNA storage. The protocol has been
designed for DNA extraction from leaf material, preferably young leaf tissue should be used as this minimises samples being
contaminated with polysaccharides and phenolics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TILLING (Targeted Induced Local Lesions in Genomes; McCallum et al. 2000) is a reverse genetic tool for the identification of point mutations in genes of interest within EMS mutagenised populations
(Till et al. 2003, Wienholds et al. 2003, Smits et al. 2004), facilitating the efficient screening of a considerable range of mutant alleles for their relation to gene function.
TILLING employs the mismatch specific endonuclease CELI which enzymatically identifies any single nucleotide polymorphism
between PCR products by recognising sites of mismatch and cleaving the DNA. Several TILLING projects have been instigated
in a variety of organisms such as Arabidopsis thaliana, Medicago truncatula, pea, soybean, maize, nematode, rat and zebrafish. In the following chapter, an outline of the procedure and methodology
is described, and the initial results from the Lotus japonicus TILLING project are presented.