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api, A Novel Medicago truncatula Symbiotic Mutant Impaired in Nodule Primordium Invasion

May 2008 , Volume 21 , Number  5
Pages  535 - 546

Alice Teillet,1 Joseph Garcia,1 Françoise de Billy,1 Michèle Gherardi,1,2 Thierry Huguet,2 David G. Barker,1 Fernanda de Carvalho-Niebel,1 and Etienne-Pascal Journet1

1Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes (LIPM), UMR CNRS-INRA 2594/441, F-31320 Castanet-Tolosan, France; 2Laboratoire Symbioses et Pathologies des Plantes (SP2), INP-ENSAT, F-31320 Castanet-Tolosan cedex, France

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Accepted 29 January 2008.

Genetic approaches have proved to be extremely useful in dissecting the complex nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium--legume endosymbiotic association. Here we describe a novel Medicago truncatula mutant called api, whose primary phenotype is the blockage of rhizobial infection just prior to nodule primordium invasion, leading to the formation of large infection pockets within the cortex of noninvaded root outgrowths. The mutant api originally was identified as a double symbiotic mutant associated with a new allele (nip-3) of the NIP/LATD gene, following the screening of an ethylmethane sulphonate--mutagenized population. Detailed characterization of the segregating single api mutant showed that rhizobial infection is also defective at the earlier stage of infection thread (IT) initiation in root hairs, as well as later during IT growth in the small percentage of nodules which overcome the primordium invasion block. Neither modulating ethylene biosynthesis (with L-α-(2-aminoethoxyvinylglycine or 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid) nor reducing ethylene sensitivity in a skl genetic background alters the basic api phenotype, suggesting that API function is not closely linked to ethylene metabolism or signaling. Genetic mapping places the API gene on the upper arm of the M. truncatula linkage group 4, and epistasis analyses show that API functions downstream of BIT1/ERN1 and LIN and upstream of NIP/LATD and the DNF genes.

Additional keywords:MtENOD, nitrogen fixation, short root hair.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society