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Nitric Oxide Is Formed in Medicago truncatula-Sinorhizobium meliloti Functional Nodules

September 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  9
Pages  970 - 975

Emmanuel Baudouin , Laurent Pieuchot , Gilbert Engler , Nicolas Pauly , and Alain Puppo

Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes et Santé Végétale, UMR INRA 1064/Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis/CNRS 6192, 400, route des Chappes, BP 167, 06903 Sophia-Antipolis, France

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Accepted 3 April 2006.

Nitric oxide (NO) has recently gained interest as a major signaling molecule during plant development and response to environmental cues. Its role is particularly crucial for plant-pathogen interactions, during which it participates in the control of plant defense response and resistance. Indication for the presence of NO during symbiotic interactions has also been reported. Here, we defined when and where NO is produced during Medicago truncatula-Sinorhizobium meliloti symbiosis. Using the NO-specific fluorescent probe 4,5-diaminofluorescein diacetate, NO production was detected by confocal microscopy in functional nodules. NO production was localized in the bacteroid-containing cells of the nodule fixation zone. The infection of Medicago roots with bacterial strains impaired in nitrogenase or nitrite reductase activities lead to the formation of nodules with an unaffected NO level, indicating that neither nitrogen fixation nor denitrification pathways are required for NO production. On the other hand, the NO synthase inhibitor N-methyl-L-arginine impaired NO detection, suggesting that a NO synthase may participate to NO production in nodules. These data indicate that a NO production occurs in functional nodules. The location of such a production in fully metabolically active cells raises the hypothesis of a new function for NO during this interaction unrelated to defense and cell-death activation.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society