A proteomic approach reveals new actors of nodule response to drought in split-root grown pea plants



Drought is considered the more harmful abiotic stress resulting in crops yield loss. Legumes in symbiosis with rhizobia are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Biological nitrogen fixation (SNF) is a very sensitive process to drought and limits legumes agricultural productivity. Several factors are known to regulate SNF including oxygen availability to bacteroids, carbon and nitrogen metabolisms; but the signaling pathways leading to SNF inhibition are largely unknown. In this work, we have performed a proteomic approach of pea plants grown in split-root system where one half of the root was well-irrigated and the other was subjected to drought. Water stress locally provoked nodule water potential decrease that led to SNF local inhibition. The proteomic approach revealed 11 and 7 nodule proteins regulated by drought encoded by Pisum sativum and Rhizobium leguminosarum genomes respectively. Among these 18 proteins, 3 proteins related to flavonoid metabolism, 2 to sulfur metabolism and 3 RNA-binding proteins were identified. These proteins could be molecular targets for future studies focused on the improvement of legumes tolerance to drought. Moreover, this work also provides new hints for the deciphering of SNF regulation machinery in nodules.