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Keywords:

  • nodule development;
  • lateral root development;
  • root architecture;
  • symbiotic nitrogen fixation;
  • Medicago truncatula;
  • NRT1(PTR) gene family

Summary

Legume root architecture involves not only elaboration of the root system by the formation of lateral roots but also the formation of symbiotic root nodules in association with nitrogen-fixing soil rhizobia. The Medicago truncatula LATD/NIP gene plays an essential role in the development of both primary and lateral roots as well as nodule development. We have cloned the LATD/NIP gene and show that it encodes a member of the NRT1(PTR) transporter family. LATD/NIP is expressed throughout the plant. pLATD/NIP-GFP promoter–reporter fusions in transgenic roots establish the spatial expression of LATD/NIP in primary root, lateral root and nodule meristems and the surrounding cells. Expression of LATD/NIP is regulated by hormones, in particular by abscisic acid which has been previously shown to rescue the primary and lateral root meristem arrest of latd mutants. latd mutants respond normally to ammonium but have defects in responses of the root architecture to nitrate. Taken together, these results suggest that LATD/NIP may encode a nitrate transporter or transporter of another compound.