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A Nodule-Specific Protein Secretory Pathway Required for Nitrogen-Fixing Symbiosis

Science  26 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5969, pp. 1126-1129
DOI: 10.1126/science.1184096

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Abstract

The nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between Sinorhizobium meliloti and its leguminous host plant Medicago truncatula occurs in a specialized root organ called the nodule. Bacteria that are released into plant cells are surrounded by a unique plant membrane compartment termed a symbiosome. We found that in the symbiosis-defective dnf1 mutant of M. truncatula, bacteroid and symbiosome development are blocked. We identified the DNF1 gene as encoding a subunit of a signal peptidase complex that is highly expressed in nodules. By analyzing data from whole-genome expression analysis, we propose that correct symbiosome development in M. truncatula requires the orderly secretion of protein constituents through coordinated up-regulation of a nodule-specific pathway exemplified by DNF1.

  • * Present address: Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA.

  • †Present address: Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.

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