3 years ago

Microsymbiont discrimination mediated by a host-secreted peptide in Medicago truncatula [Plant Biology]

Microsymbiont discrimination mediated by a host-secreted peptide in Medicago truncatula [Plant Biology]
Elena Fedorova, Joel S. Griffitts, Paul A. Price, Qi Wang, Hongyan Zhu, Dong Wang, Huairong Pan, Jinge Liu, Qiaolin Zheng, Ton Bisseling, Qiulin Qin, Shengming Yang

The legume–rhizobial symbiosis results in the formation of root nodules that provide an ecological niche for nitrogen-fixing bacteria. However, plant–bacteria genotypic interactions can lead to wide variation in nitrogen fixation efficiency, and it is not uncommon that a bacterial strain forms functional (Fix+) nodules on one plant genotype but nonfunctional (Fix) nodules on another. Host genetic control of this specificity is unknown. We herein report the cloning of the Medicago truncatula NFS1 gene that regulates the fixation-level incompatibility with the microsymbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti Rm41. We show that NFS1 encodes a nodule-specific cysteine-rich (NCR) peptide. In contrast to the known role of NCR peptides as effectors of endosymbionts’ differentiation to nitrogen-fixing bacteroids, we demonstrate that specific NCRs control discrimination against incompatible microsymbionts. NFS1 provokes bacterial cell death and early nodule senescence in an allele-specific and rhizobial strain-specific manner, and its function is dependent on host genetic background.

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