Depolarization of alfalfa root hair membrane potential by Rhizobium meliloti Nod factors

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Science  15 May 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5059, pp. 998-1000
DOI: 10.1126/science.10744524


Although much is known about the bacterial genetics of early nodulation, little is known about the plant cell response. Alfalfa root hair cells were impaled with intracellular microelectrodes to measure a membrane potential depolarizing activity in Rhizobium meliloti cell-free filtrates, a plant response dependent on the bacterial nodulation genes. The depolarization was desensitized by repeated exposure to factors and was not observed in a representative nonlegume. A purified extracellular Nod factor, NodRm-IV(S), caused membrane potential depolarization at nanomolar concentrations. This rapid single-cell assay provides a tool for dissecting the mechanisms of host cell response in early nodulation.

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