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Expression Profiles of 22 Novel Molecular Markers for Organogenetic Pathways Acting in Alfalfa Nodule Development

January 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  1
Pages  96 - 106

José I. Jiménez-Zurdo , 1 Florian Frugier , 1 Martín D. Crespi , 1 and Adam Kondorosi 1 , 2

1Institut des Sciences Végétales, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, F-91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France; 2Institute of Genetics, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged, PO Box 521, H-6701 Szeged, Hungary

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Accepted 1 October 1999.

During symbiotic nodule development, a variety of molecular signals of rhizobia and plant origin are likely to be involved in the control of the expression of specific genes in the legume Medicago sativa (alfalfa). Twenty-two new, nodule-associated expressed sequence tags (ESTs, MsNod clones) as well as 16 clones for previously reported alfalfa nodulins were identified by cold-plaque screening. Protein homologs were found for 10 of the 22 MsNod-encoded polypeptides, revealing putative novel functions associated with this symbiosis. Expression of these MsNod genes was investigated in spontaneous nodules (generated in the absence of bacteria), in nodules induced by a Sinorhizobium meliloti wild-type strain and Eps- and Bac- mutant derivatives, as well as in roots inoculated with a Nod- mutant strain. This analysis enabled us to correlate plant gene expression with the different stages of nodule ontogeny and invasion. The effect of phytohormones on MsNod gene expression was analyzed in cytokinin- and auxin-treated alfalfa roots. Cytokinin induced the accumulation of seven MsNod transcripts, four of them were also regulated by the synthetic auxin 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid). Comparison of MsNod expression profiles in wild-type and transgenic M. truncatula roots overexpressing the early nodulin Enod40 suggested that one clone, the M. sativa L3 ribosomal protein homolog (MsNod377), is a putative component of an Enod40-dependent pathway acting during nodule development. These novel molecular markers may help in the investigation of gene networks and regulatory circuits controlling nodule organogenesis.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society