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Rhizobium-Induced Calcium Spiking in Lotus japonicus

April 2003 , Volume 16 , Number  4
Pages  335 - 341

Jeanne M. Harris , 1 Rebecca Wais , 2 and Sharon R. Long 2

1Department of Botany and Agricultural Biochemistry, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0086, U.S.A.; 2Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, U.S.A.

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Accepted 15 December 2002.

Legumes and rhizobium bacteria form a symbiosis that results in the development of nitrogen-fixing nodules on the root of the host plant. The earliest plant developmental changes are triggered by bacterially produced nodulation (Nod) factors. Within minutes of exposure to Nod factors, sharp oscillations in cytoplasmic calcium levels (calcium spiking) occur in epidermal cells of several closely related legumes. We found that Lotus japonicus, a legume that follows an alternate developmental pathway, responds to both its bacterial partner and to the purified bacterial signal with calcium spiking. Thus, calcium spiking is not restricted to a particular pathway of nodule development and may be a general component of the response of host legumes to their bacterial partner. Using Nod factor-induced calcium spiking as a tool to identify mutants blocked early in the response to Nod factor, we show that the L. japonicus Ljsym22-1 mutant but not the Ljsym30 mutant fails to respond to Nod factor with calcium spiking.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society