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Transformed Hairy Roots of Discaria trinervis: A Valuable Tool for Studying Actinorhizal Symbiosis in the Context of Intercellular Infection

November 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  11
Pages  1,317 - 1,324

Leandro Imanishi,1 Alice Vayssières,2 Claudine Franche,2 Didier Bogusz,2 Luis Wall,1 and Sergio Svistoonoff2

1Laboratorio de Bioquímica, Microbiología e Interacciones Biológicas en el Suelo (LBMIBS), Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, R. Sáenz Peña 352, B1876BXD Bernal, Argentina; 2Groupe Rhizogenèse, Unité Mixte de Recherche Diversité Adaptation Développement des Plantes (DIADE), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), 911 avenue Agropolis, BP 64501, 34394 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

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Accepted 2 May 2011.

Among infection mechanisms leading to root nodule symbiosis, the intercellular infection pathway is probably the most ancestral but also one of the least characterized. Intercellular infection has been described in Discaria trinervis, an actinorhizal plant belonging to the Rosales order. To decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying intercellular infection with Frankia bacteria, we set up an efficient genetic transformation protocol for D. trinervis based on Agrobacterium rhizogenes. We showed that composite plants with transgenic roots expressing green fluorescent protein can be specifically and efficiently nodulated by Frankia strain BCU110501. Nitrogen fixation rates and feedback inhibition of nodule formation by nitrogen were similar in control and composite plants. In order to challenge the transformation system, the MtEnod11 promoter, a gene from Medicago truncatula widely used as a marker for early infection-related symbiotic events in model legumes, was introduced in D. trinervis. MtEnod11::GUS expression was related to infection zones in root cortex and in the parenchyma of the developing nodule. The ability to study intercellular infection with molecular tools opens new avenues for understanding the evolution of the infection process in nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbioses.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society