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Analysis of Promoter Activity of the Early Nodulin Enod40 in Lotus japonicus

May 2005 , Volume 18 , Number  5
Pages  414 - 427

Mette Grønlund , 1 Andreas Roussis , 1 Emmanouil Flemetakis , 2 Nicolette E. M. Quaedvlieg , 1 Helmi R. M. Schlaman , 1 Yosuke Umehara , 3 Panagiotis Katinakis , 2 Jens Stougaard , 3 and Herman P. Spaink 1

1Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands; 2Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural University Athens, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens, Greece; 3Department of Molecular Biology, Aarhus University, Gustav Wieds Vej 10, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

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Accepted 9 January 2005.

Our comparative studies on the promoter (pr) activity of Enod40 in the model legume Lotus japonicus in stably transformed GusA reporter lines and in hairy roots of L. japonicus demonstrate a stringent regulation of the Enod40 promoter in the root cortex and root hairs in response to Nod factors. Interestingly, the L. japonicus Enod40-2 promoter fragment also shows symbiotic activity in the reverse orientation. Deletion analyses of the Glycine max (Gm) Enod40 promoter revealed the presence of a minimal region -185 bp upstream of the transcription start. Stable transgenic L. japonicus reporter lines were used in bioassays to test the effect of different compounds on early symbiotic signaling. The responses of prGmEnod40 reporter lines were compared with the responses of L. japonicus (Lj) reporter lines based on the LjNin promoter. Both reporter lines show very early activity postinoculation in root hairs of the responsive zone of the root and later in the dividing cells of nodule primordia. The LjNin promoter was found to be more responsive than the GmEnod40 promoter to Nod factors and related compounds. The use of prGmEnod40 reporter lines to analyze the effect of nodulin genes on the GmEnod40 promoter activity indicates that LJNIN has a positive effect on the regulation of the Enod40 promoter, whereas the latter is not influenced by ectopic overexpression of its own gene product. In addition to pointing to a difference in the regulation of the two nodulin genes Enod40 and Nin during early time points of symbiosis, the bioassays revealed a difference in the response to the synthetic cytokinin 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) between alfalfa and clover and L. japonicus. In alfalfa and clover, Enod40 expression was induced upon BAP treatment, whereas this seems not to be the case in L. japonicus; these results correlate with effects at the cellular level because BAP can induce pseudonodules in alfalfa and clover but not in L. japonicus. In conclusion, we demonstrate the applicability of the described L. japonicus reporter lines in analyses of the specificity of compounds related to nodulation as well as for the dissection of the interplay between different nodulin genes.

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society