Cuong T. Nguyen,2
Jay J. Thelen,3
Lijuan Qiu,1 and
1Key Laboratory of Crop Germplasm Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture/Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China; 2Division of Plant Sciences and National Center for Soybean Biotechnology, and 3Division of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, U.S.A.
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Accepted 18 December 2013.
Legumes (members of family Fabaceae) establish a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria (rhizobia) to overcome nitrogen source limitation. Single root hair epidermal cells serve as the entry point for bacteria to infect the host root, leading to development of a new organ, the nodule, which the bacteria colonize. In the present study, the putative role of a soybean acyl carrier protein (ACP), GmACP (Glyma18g47950), was examined in nodulation. ACP represent an essential cofactor protein in fatty acid biosynthesis. Phylogenetic analysis of plant ACP protein sequences showed that GmACP was classified in a legume-specific clade. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated that GmACP was expressed in all soybean tissues but showed higher transcript accumulation in nodule tissue. RNA interference-mediated gene silencing of GmACP resulted in a significant reduction in nodule numbers on soybean transgenic roots. Fluorescent protein-labeled GmACP was localized to plastids in planta, the site of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis in plants. Analysis of the fatty acid content of root tissue silenced for GmACP expression, as determined by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, showed an approximately 22% reduction, specifically in palmitic and stearic acid. Taken together, our data provide evidence that GmACP plays an important role in nodulation.
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