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Glycine-Rich Proteins Encoded by a Nodule-Specific Gene Family Are Implicated in Different Stages of Symbiotic Nodule Development in Medicago Spp.

September 2002 , Volume 15 , Number  9
Pages  922 - 931

Zoltán Kevei , 1 , 2 José María Vinardell , 1 György B. Kiss , 2 Adam Kondorosi , 1 , 2 and Eva Kondorosi 1

1Institut des Sciences du Végétal, CNRS UPR 2355, Avenue de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; 2Institute of Genetics, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 6701 Szeged, Hungary

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Accepted 23 May 2002.

Four genes encoding small proteins with significantly high glycine content have been identified from root nodules of Medicago sativa. All of these proteins as well as their Medicago truncatula homologues carried an amino terminal signal peptide and a glycine-rich carboxy terminal domain. All except nodGRP3 lacked the characteristic repeat structure described for cell wall and stress response-related glycinerich proteins (GRP). Expression of these GRP genes was undetectable in flower, leaf, stem, and hypocotyl cells, whereas expression was highly induced during root nodule development, suggesting that GRP genes act as nodulins. Moreover, none of these nodule-expressed GRP genes were activated by hormones or stress treatments, which are inducers of many other GRPs. In Rhizobium-free spontaneous nodules and in nodules induced by a noninfective mutant strain of Sinorhizobium meliloti, all these genes were repressed, while they were induced in Fix¯ nodules, unaffected in bacterial infection, but halted in bacteroid differentiation. These results demonstrated that bacterial infection but not bacteroid differentiation is required for the induction of the nodule-specific GRP genes. Differences in kinetics and localization of gene activation as well as in the primary structure of proteins suggest nonredundant roles for these GRPs in nodule organogenesis.

Additional keyword: leguminous plants .

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society