Differential display was applied to the early stages of the interaction between the tropical legume Sesbania rostrata and its microsymbiont Azorhizobium caulinodans ORS571. An upregulated clone that is similar to pectin methylesterase-encoding genes was isolated (Srpme1). The full-length sequence of Srpme1 was used to localize PME transcripts in situ during S. rostrata stem-nodule development. Several expression patterns were distinguished, hinting at general roles in vascular tissue development and cell division or expansion and at symbiosis-specific functions, such as uninfected cell differentiation.
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