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Keywords:

  • Nod factor;
  • nodulation;
  • calcium spiking;
  • feedback regulation;
  • signal transduction

Summary

Nod factor is a critical signalling molecule in the establishment of the legume/rhizobial symbiosis. The Nod factor of Sinorhizobium meliloti carries O-sulphate, O-acetate and C16:2N-acyl attachments that define its activity and host specificity. Here we assess the relative importance of these modifications for the induction of calcium spiking in Medicago truncatula. We find that Nod factor structures lacking the O-sulphate, structures lacking the O-acetate and N-acyl groups, and structures lacking the O-acetate combined with a C18:1N-acyl group all show calcium spiking when applied at high concentrations. These calcium responses are blocked in dmi1 and dmi2 mutants, suggesting that they function through the Nod factor signal transduction pathway. The dmi3 mutant, which is proposed to function in the Nod factor signal transduction pathway downstream of calcium spiking, shows increased sensitivity to Nod factor. This increased sensitivity is only active with wild-type Nod factor and was not present when the plants were treated with mutant Nod factor structures. We propose that the Nod factor signal transduction pathway is under negative feedback regulation that is activated at or downstream of DMI3 and requires structural components of the Nod factor molecule for activity.