National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8602 Japan; CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0112, Japan
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Accepted 6 February 2006.
Nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between legume plants and rhizobia is established through complex interactions between two symbiotic partners. To identify the host legume genes that play crucial roles in such interactions, we isolated a novel Fix¯ mutant, Ljsym105, from a model legume Lotus japonicus MG-20. The Ljsym105 plants displayed nitrogen-deficiency symptoms after inoculation with Mesorhizobium loti under nitrogen-free conditions, but their growth recovered when supplied with nitrogen-rich nutrients. Ljsym105 was recessive and monogenic and mapped on the upper portion of chromosome 4. The mutant Ljsym105 formed an increased number of small and pale-pink nodules. Nitrogenase (acetylene reduction) activity per nodule fresh weight was low but retained more than 50% of that of the wild-type nodules. Light and electron microscopic observations revealed that the Ljsym105 nodule infected cells were significantly smaller than those of wild-type plants, contained enlarged symbiosomes with multiple bacteroids, and underwent deterioration of the symbiosomes prematurely as well as disintegration of the whole infected cell cytoplasm. These results indicate that the ineffectiveness of the Ljsym105 nodules is primarily due to impaired growth of infected cells accompanied with the premature senescence induced at relatively early stages of nodule development. These symbiotic phenotypes are discussed in respect to possible functions of the LjSym105 locus in the symbiotic interactions required for establishment of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis.
© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society