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Responses of a Model Legume Lotus japonicus to Lipochitin Oligosaccharide Nodulation Factors Purified from Mesorhizobium loti JRL501

July 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  7
Pages  848 - 856

Shinobu Niwa , 1 Masayoshi Kawaguchi , 2 Haruko Imaizumi-Anraku , 2 Svetlana A. Chechetka , 4 Masumi Ishizaka , 3 Akira Ikuta , 1 and Hiroshi Kouchi 4

1Science University of Tokyo, Noda, Chiba, 278-8510, Japan; 2The University of Tokyo. Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 163-8902, Japan; 3National Institute of Agroenvironmental Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8602, Japan; 4National Institute of Agrobiological Resources, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8602, Japan

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Accepted 9 March 2001.

Lotus japonicus has been proposed as a model legume for molecular genetic studies of symbiotic plant-microbe interactions leading to the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. Lipochitin oligosaccharides (LCOs), or Nod factors, were isolated from the culture of Mesorhizobium loti strain JRL501 (MAFF303099), an efficient microsymbiont of L. japonicus B-129 cv. Gifu. High-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometric analyses allowed us to identify at least five different structures of LCOs that were produced by JRL501. The major component was NodMl-V(C18:1, Me, Cb, AcFuc), an N-acetyl-glucosamine pentamer in which the nonreducing residue is N-acylated with a C18:1 acyl moiety, N-methylated, and carries a carbamoyl group and the reducing N-acetyl-glucosamine residue is substituted with 4-O-acetyl-fucose. Additional novel LCO structures bearing fucose instead of acetyl-fucose at the reducing end were identified. Mixtures of these LCOs could elicit abundant root hair deformation on L. japonicus roots at a concentration of 10-7 to 10-9 M. Spot inoculation of a few nanograms of LCOs on L. japonicus roots induced the formation of nodule primordia in which the early nodulin genes, ENOD40 and ENOD2, were expressed in a tissue-specific manner. We also observed the formation of a cytoplasmic bridge (preinfection thread) in the swollen outermost cortical cells. This is the first description of cytoplasmic bridge formation by purified LCOs alone in a legume-forming determinate nodules.

Additional keywords: symbiosis.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society