Nuclear-localized cyclic nucleotide–gated channels mediate symbiotic calcium oscillations

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Science  27 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6289, pp. 1102-1105
DOI: 10.1126/science.aae0109

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Calcium signals the making of symbiosis

Plant cell nuclei respond to signals from symbiotic nitrogenfixing rhizobial bacteria or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with oscillating Ca2+ release. Charpentier et al. identified a trio of responsible Ca2+ channels in a legume. These channels contain nuclear localization signals and are expressed in root cell nuclear envelopes. The channels function early in the establishment of symbiosis to produce oscillations in Ca2+ release from nuclear stores.

Science, this issue p. 1102


Nuclear-associated Ca2+ oscillations mediate plant responses to beneficial microbial partners—namely, nitrogen-fixing rhizobial bacteria that colonize roots of legumes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that colonize roots of the majority of plant species. A potassium-permeable channel is known to be required for symbiotic Ca2+ oscillations, but the calcium channels themselves have been unknown until now. We show that three cyclic nucleotide–gated channels in Medicago truncatula are required for nuclear Ca2+ oscillations and subsequent symbiotic responses. These cyclic nucleotide–gated channels are located at the nuclear envelope and are permeable to Ca2+. We demonstrate that the cyclic nucleotide–gated channels form a complex with the postassium-permeable channel, which modulates nuclear Ca2+ release. These channels, like their counterparts in animal cells, might regulate multiple nuclear Ca2+ responses to developmental and environmental conditions.

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