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Rhizobial Synthesized Cytokinins Contribute to But Are Not Essential for the Symbiotic Interaction Between Photosynthetic Bradyrhizobia and Aeschynomene Legumes

October 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  10
Pages  1,232 - 1,238

Kateřina Podlešáková,1,2 Joel Fardoux,3 Delphine Patrel,3 Katia Bonaldi,3 Ondřej Novák,1,4 Miroslav Strnad,1,4 Eric Giraud,3 Lukáš Spíchal,1,4 and Nico Nouwen3

1Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Palacký University and Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, CZ-78371, Olomouc, Czech Republic; 2Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Šlechtitelů 11, CZ-78371 Olomouc, Czech Republic; 3IRD, Laboratoire des Symbioses Tropicales et Méditerranéennes (LSTM), UMR IRD/SupAgro/INRA/UM2/CIRAD, F-34398 Montpellier, France; 4Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Šlechtitelů 11, CZ-78371 Olomouc, Czech Republic

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Accepted 5 June 2013.

Cytokinins (CK) play an important role in the formation of nitrogen-fixing root nodules. It has been known for years that rhizobia secrete CK in the extracellular medium but whether they play a role in nodule formation is not known. We have examined this question using the photosynthetic Bradyrhizobium sp. strain ORS285 which is able to nodulate Aeschynomene afraspera and A. indica using a Nod-dependent or Nod-independent symbiotic process, respectively. CK profiling showed that the most abundant CK secreted by Bradyrhizobium sp. strain ORS285 are the 2MeS (2-methylthiol) derivatives of trans-zeatin and isopentenyladenine. In their pure form, these CK can activate legume CK receptors in vitro, and their exogenous addition induced nodule-like structures on host plants. Deletion of the miaA gene showed that transfer RNA degradation is the source of CK production in Bradyrhizobium sp. strain ORS285. In nodulation studies performed with A. indica and A. afraspera, the miaA mutant had a 1-day delay in nodulation and nitrogen fixation. Moreover, A. indica plants formed considerably smaller but more abundant nodules when inoculated with the miaA mutant. These data show that CK produced by Bradyrhizobium sp. strain ORS285 are not the key signal triggering nodule formation during the Nod-independent symbiosis but they contribute positively to nodule development in Aeschynomene plants.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society