A group of bacteria known as rhizobia are key players in symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) in partnership with legumes. After a molecular exchange, the bacteria end surrounded by a plant membrane forming symbiosomes, organelle-like structures, where they differentiate to bacteroids and fix nitrogen. This symbiotic process is highly dependent on dynamic nutrient exchanges between the partners. Among these are transition metals (TM) participating as inorganic and organic cofactors of fundamental enzymes. While the understanding of how plant transporters facilitate TMs to the very near environment of the bacteroid is expanding, our knowledge on how bacteroid transporters integrate to TM homeostasis mechanisms in the plant host is still limited. This is significantly relevant considering the low solubility and scarcity of TMs in soils, and the in crescendo gradient of TM bioavailability rhizobia faces during the infection and bacteroid differentiation processes. In the present work, we review the main metal transporter families found in rhizobia, their role in free-living conditions and, when known, in symbiosis. We focus on discussing those transporters which could play a significant role in TM-dependent biochemical and physiological processes in the bacteroid, thus paving the way towards an optimized SNF.
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) cascades play essential roles in plants by transducing developmental cues and environmental signals into cellular responses. Among the latter are microbe-associated molecular patterns perceived by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which trigger immunity. We found that YODA (YDA) – a MAPK kinase kinase regulating several Arabidopsis developmental processes, like stomatal patterning – also modulates immune responses. Resistance to pathogens is compromised in yda alleles, whereas plants expressing the constitutively active YDA (CA-YDA) protein show broad-spectrum resistance to fungi, bacteria, and oomycetes with different colonization modes. YDA functions in the same pathway as ERECTA (ER) Receptor-Like Kinase, regulating both immunity and stomatal patterning. ER-YDA-mediated immune responses act in parallel to canonical disease resistance pathways regulated by phytohormones and PRRs. CA-YDA plants exhibit altered cell-wall integrity and constitutively express defense-associated genes, including some encoding putative small secreted peptides and PRRs whose impairment resulted in enhanced susceptibility phenotypes. CA-YDA plants show strong reprogramming of their phosphoproteome, which contains protein targets distinct from described MAPKs substrates. Our results suggest that, in addition to stomata development, the ER-YDA pathway regulates an immune surveillance system conferring broad-spectrum disease resistance that is distinct from the canonical pathways mediated by described PRRs and defense hormones.
Quinoa cultivation has been expanded around the world in the last decade and is considered an exceptional crop with the potential of contributing to food security worldwide. The exceptional nutritional value of quinoa seeds relies on their high protein content, their amino acid profile that includes a good balance of essential amino acids, the mineral composition and the presence of antioxidants and other important nutrients such as fiber or vitamins. Although several studies have pointed to the influence of different environmental stresses in certain nutritional components little attention has been paid to the effect of the agroecological context on the nutritional properties of the seeds what may strongly impact on the consumer food’s quality. Thus, aiming to evaluate the effect of the agroecological conditions on the nutritional profile of quinoa seeds we analyzed three quinoa cultivars (Salcedo-INIA, Titicaca and Regalona) at different locations (Spain, Peru and Chile). The results revealed that several nutritional parameters such as the amino acid profile, the protein content, the mineral composition and the phytate amount in the seeds depend on the location and cultivar while other parameters such as saponin or fiber were more stable across locations. Our results support the notion that nutritional characteristics of seeds may be determined by seed’s origin and further analysis are needed to define the exact mechanisms that control the changes in the seeds nutritional properties.
Seeds accumulate iron during embryo maturation stages of embryogenesis. Using Arabidopsis thaliana as model plant, it has been described that mature embryos accumulate iron within a specific cell layer, the endodermis. This distribution pattern was conserved in most of the analyzed members from Brassicales, with the exception of the basal Vasconcellea pubescens that also showed elevated amounts of iron in cortex cells. To determine whether the V. pubescens iron distribution was indicative of a wider pattern in non-Brassicales Eudicotyledoneae, we studied iron distribution pattern in different embryos belonging to plant species from different Orders from Eudicotyledoneae and one basal from Magnoliidae. The results obtained indicate that iron distribution in A. thaliana embryo is an extreme case of apomorphic character found in Brassicales, not-extensive to the rest of Eudicotyledoneae.
Zinc (Zn) is an essential nutrient for plants that is involved in almost every biological process. This includes symbiotic nitrogen fixation, a process carried out by endosymbiotic bacteria (rhizobia) living within differentiated plant cells of legume root nodules. Zn transport in nodules involves delivery from the root, via the vasculature, release into the apoplast and uptake into nodule cells. Once in the cytosol, Zn can be used directly by cytosolic proteins or delivered into organelles, including symbiosomes of infected cells, by zinc efflux transporters. Medicago truncatula MtMTP2 (Medtr4g064893) is a nodule-induced Zn-efflux protein that was localized to an intracellular compartment in root epidermal and endodermal cells, as well as in nodule cells. Although the MtMTP2 gene is expressed in roots, shoots, and nodules, mtp2 mutants exhibited growth defects only under symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing conditions. Loss of MtMTP2 function resulted in altered nodule development, defects in bacteroid differentiation, and severe reduction of nitrogenase activity. The results presented here support a role of MtMTP2 in intracellular compartmentation of Zn, which is required for effective symbiotic nitrogen fixation in M. truncatula.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legume root nodules requires a steady supply of molybdenum for synthesis of the iron-molybdenum cofactor of nitrogenase. This nutrient has to be provided by the host plant from the soil, crossing several symplastically disconnected compartments through molybdate transporters, including members of the MOT1 family.
MtMOT1.2 is a Medicago truncatula MOT1 family member located in the endodermal cells in roots and nodules. Immunolocalization of a tagged MtMOT1.2 indicates that it is associated to the plasma membrane and to intracellular membrane systems, where it would be transporting molybdate towards the cytosol, as indicated in yeast transport assays. A loss-of-function mot1.2-1 mutant showed reduced growth compared to wild-type plants when nitrogen fixation was required, but not when nitrogen was provided as nitrate. While no effect on molybdenum-dependent nitrate reductase activity was observed, nitrogenase activity was severely affected, explaining the observed difference of growth depending on nitrogen source. This phenotype was the result of molybdate not reaching the nitrogen-fixing nodules, since genetic complementation with a wild-type MtMOT1.2 gene or molybdate-fortification of the nutrient solution, both restored wild-type levels of growth and nitrogenase activity. These results support a model in which MtMOT1.2 would mediate molybdate delivery by the vasculature into the nodules.
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Genetic ablation of the β-subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein complex in agb1-2 confers defective activation of Molecular-Associated Molecular Pattern (MAMP)-triggered immunity, resulting in agb1-2 enhanced susceptibility to pathogens, like the fungus Plectosphaerella cucumerina BMM (PcBMM). A mutant screen for suppressors of agb1-2 susceptibility (sgb) to PcBMM identified sgb10, a new null allele ( mkp1-2) of the mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 1 (MKP1). The enhanced susceptibility of agb1-2 to the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 and the oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis is also abrogated by mkp1-2. MKP1 negatively balances production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) triggered by MAMPs since ROS levels are enhanced in mkp1. The transcriptional expression of RBOHD, encoding a NADPH oxidase producing ROS, is upregulated in mkp1 plants upon MAMPs treatment or pathogen infection. Moreover, MKP1 negatively regulates RBOHD activity because ROS levels upon MAMP treatment are increased in mkp1 plants constitutively overexpressing RBOHD(35S::RBOHD mkp1). A significant reprograming of mkp1 metabolic profile occurs with more than 170 metabolites, including antimicrobial compounds, showing differential accumulation in comparison to wild-type plants. These results suggest that MKP1 functions downstream of the heterotrimeric G protein during MAMP-triggered immunity, directly regulating the activity of RBOHD and ROS production, and other immune responses.
Copper is an essential nutrient for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. This element is delivered by the host plant to the nodule, where membrane copper transporter would introduce it into the cell to synthesize cuproproteins.
COPT family members in model legume Medicago truncatula were identified and their expression determined. Yeast complementation assays, confocal microscopy, and phenotypical characterization of a Tnt1 insertional mutant line were carried out in the nodule-specific M. truncatula COPT family member.
Medicago truncatula genome encodes eight COPT transporters. MtCOPT1 (Medtr4g019870) is the only nodule-specific COPT gene. It is located in the plasma membrane of the differentiation, interzone and early fixation zones. Loss of MtCOPT1 function results in a copper-mitigated reduction of biomass production when the plant obtains its nitrogen exclusively from symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Mutation of MtCOPT1 results in diminished nitrogenase activity in nodules, likely an indirect effect from the loss of a copper-dependent function, such as cytochrome oxidase activity in copt1-1 bacteroids.
These data are consistent with a model in which MtCOPT1 transports copper from the apoplast into nodule cells to provide copper for essential metabolic processes associated with symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
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Boron (B) is an essential micronutrient for seed plants. Information on B-efficiency mechanisms and B-efficient crop and model plant genotypes is very scarce. Studies evaluating the basis and consequences of B-deficiency and B-efficiency are limited by the facts that B occurs as a trace contaminant essentially everywhere, its bioavailability is difficult to control and soil-based B-deficiency growth systems allowing a high-throughput screening of plant populations have hitherto been lacking. The crop plant Brassica napus shows a very high sensitivity towards B-deficient conditions. To reduce B-deficiency-caused yield losses in a sustainable manner, the identification of B-efficient B. napus genotypes is indispensable. We developed a soil substrate-based cultivation system which is suitable to study plant growth in automated high-throughput phenotyping facilities under defined and repeatable soil B conditions. In a comprehensive screening, using this system with soil B concentrations below 0.1 mg B (kg soil)-1, we identified three highly B-deficiency tolerant B. napus cultivars (CR2267, CR2280 and CR2285) amongst a genetically diverse collection comprising 590 accessions from all over the world. The B-efficiency classification of cultivars was based on a detailed assessment of various physical and high-throughput imaging-based shoot and root growth parameters in soil substrate or in in vitro conditions, respectively. We identified cultivar-specific patterns of B-deficiency-responsive growth dynamics. Elemental analysis revealed striking differences only in B contents between contrasting genotypes when grown under B-deficient but not under standard conditions. Results indicate that B-deficiency tolerant cultivars can grow with a very limited amount of B which is clearly below previously described critical B-tissue concentration values. These results suggest a higher B utilization efficiency of CR2267, CR2280 and CR2285 which would represent a unique trait amongst so far identified B-efficient B. napus cultivars which are characterized by a higher B-uptake capacity. Testing various other nutrient deficiency treatments, we demonstrated that the tolerance is specific for B-deficient conditions and is not conferred by a general growth vigor at the seedling stage. The identified B-deficiency tolerant cultivars will serve as genetic and physiological ‘tools’ to further understand the mechanisms regulating the B nutritional status in rapeseed and to develop B-efficient elite genotypes.
Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae is a soil α-proteobacterium that establishes a diazotrophic symbiosis with different legumes of the Fabeae tribe. The number of genome sequences from rhizobial strains available in public databases is constantly increasing, although complete, fully annotated genome structures from rhizobial genomes are scarce. In this work, we report and analyse the complete genome of R. leguminosarum bv. viciae UPM791. Whole genome sequencing can provide new insights into the genetic features contributing to symbiotically relevant processes such as bacterial adaptation to the rhizosphere, mechanisms for efficient competition with other bacteria, and the ability to establish a complex signalling dialogue with legumes, to enter the root without triggering plant defenses, and, ultimately, to fix nitrogen within the host. Comparison of the complete genome sequences of two strains of R. leguminosarum bv. viciae, 3841 and UPM791, highlights the existence of different symbiotic plasmids and a common core chromosome. Specific genomic traits, such as plasmid content or a distinctive regulation, define differential physiological capabilities of these endosymbionts. Among them, strain UPM791 presents unique adaptations for recycling the hydrogen generated in the nitrogen fixation process.
Significant advances have been made in the last years trying to identify regulatory pathways that control plant responses to boron (B) deficiency. Still, there is a lack of a deep understanding of how they act regulating growth and development under B limiting conditions. Here, we analyzed the impact of B deficit on cell division leading to root apical meristem (RAM) disorganization. Our results reveal that inhibition of cell proliferation under the regulatory control of cytokinins (CKs) is an early event contributing to root growth arrest under B deficiency. An early recovery of QC46:GUS expression after transferring B-deficient seedlings to control conditions revealed a role of B in the maintenance of QC identity whose loss under deficiency occurred at later stages of the stress. Additionally, the D-type cyclinCYCD3 overexpressor and triple mutant cycd3;1-3 were used to evaluate the effect on mitosis inhibition at the G1-S boundary. Overall, this study supports the hypothesis that meristem activity is inhibited by B deficiency at early stages of the stress as it does cell elongation. Likewise, distinct regulatory mechanisms seem to take place depending on the severity of the stress. The results presented here are key to better understand early signaling responses under B deficiency.
Iron is an essential micronutrient for symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legume nodules, where it is required for the activity of bacterial nitrogenase, plant leghemoglobin, respiratory oxidases and other iron-proteins in both organisms. Iron solubility and transport within and between plant tissues is facilitated by organic chelators, such as nicotianamine and citrate. We have characterized a nodule-specific citrate transporter of the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion family, MtMATE67 of Medicago truncatula. The MtMATE67 gene was induced early during nodule development and expressed primarily in the invasion zone of mature nodules. The MtMATE67 protein was localized to the plasma membrane of nodule cells, and also the symbiosome membrane surrounding bacteroids in infected cells. In oocytes, MtMATE67 transported citrate out of cells in an iron-activated manner. Loss of MtMATE67 gene function resulted in accumulation of iron in the apoplasm of nodule cells and a substantial decrease in symbiotic nitrogen fixation and plant growth. Taken together, the results point to a primary role of MtMATE67 in citrate efflux from nodule cells in response to an iron signal. This efflux is necessary to ensure Fe(III) solubility and mobility in the apoplasm and uptake into nodule cells. Likewise, MtMATE67-mediated citrate transport into the symbiosome space would increase the solubility and availability of Fe(III) for rhizobial bacteroids.
Most effective nematicides for the control of root-knot nematodes are banned, which demands a better understanding of the plant-nematode interaction. Understanding how gene expression in the nematode-feeding sites relates to morphological features may assist a better characterization of the interaction. However, nematode-induced galls resulting from cell-proliferation and hypertrophy hinders such observation, which would require tissue sectioning or clearing. We demonstrate that a method based on the green auto-fluorescence produced by glutaraldehyde and the tissue-clearing properties of benzyl-alcohol/benzyl-benzoate preserves the structure of the nematode-feeding sites and the plant-nematode interface with unprecedented resolution quality. This allowed us to obtain detailed measurements of the giant cells’ area in an Arabidopsis line overexpressing CHITINASE-LIKE-1(CTL1) from optical sections by confocal microscopy, assigning a role for CTL1 and adding essential data to the scarce information of the role of gene repression in giant cells. Furthermore, subcellular structures and features of the nematodes body and tissues from thick organs formed after different biotic interactions, i.e., galls, syncytia, and nodules, were clearly distinguished without embedding or sectioning in different plant species (Arabidopsis, cucumber or Medicago). The combination of this method with molecular studies will be valuable for a better understanding of the plant-biotic interactions.
In collaboration with Dr. C. Larue (CNRS), Dr. J. Imperial (CSIC), and Dr. D. Grolimund (SLS), the lab has recently published the characterization of MtZIP6 role in symbiotic nitrogen fixation in Plant Cell & Environment. This transporter is responsible for introducing Zn into rhizobia-infected cells.
Zinc is a micronutrient required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. It has been proposed that in model legume Medicago truncatula, zinc is delivered in a similar fashion as iron, i.e. by the root vasculature into the nodule and released in the infection/differentiation zone. There, zinc transporters must introduce this element into rhizobia-infected cells to metallate the apoproteins that use zinc as a cofactor. MtZIP6(Medtr4g083570) is a M. truncatula Zinc-Iron Permease (ZIP) that is expressed only in roots and nodules, with the highest expression levels in the infection/differentiation zone. Immunolocalization studies indicate that it is located in the plasma membrane of rhizobia-infected cells in the nodule. Down-regulating MtZIP6 expression levels with RNAi does not result in any strong phenotype when plants are being watered with mineral nitrogen. However, these silenced plants displayed severe growth defects when they depended on nitrogen fixed by their nodules, as a consequence of the loss of 80% of their nitrogenase activity. The reduction of this activity was not the result of iron not reaching the nodule, but an indirect effect of zinc being retained in the infection/differentiation zone and not reaching the cytosol of rhizobia-infected cells. These data are consistent with a model in which MtZIP6 would be responsible for zinc uptake by rhizobia-infected nodule cells in the infection/differentiation zone.
Please note that you still may get the preprinted document at BioRxiv.
Molybdenum, as a component of the iron-molybdenum cofactor of nitrogenase, is essential for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. This nutrient has to be provided by the host plant through molybdate transporters. Members of the molybdate transporters family MOT1 were identified in the model legume Medicago truncatula and their expression in nodules determined. Yeast toxicity assays, confocal microscopy, and phenotypical characterization of a Tnt1 insertional mutant line were carried out in the one M. truncatula MOT1 family member expressed specifically in nodules. Among the five MOT1 members present in M. truncatula genome, MtMOT1.3 is the only one uniquely expressed in nodules. MtMOT1.3 shows molybdate transport capabilities when expressed in yeast. Immunolocalization studies revealed that MtMOT1.3 is located in the plasma membrane of nodule cells. A mot1.3-1 knockout mutant showed an impaired growth concomitant with a reduction in nitrogenase activity. This phenotype was rescued by increasing molybdate concentrations in the nutritive solution, or upon addition of an assimilable nitrogen source. Furthermore, mot1.3-1 plants transformed with a functional copy of MtMOT1.3 showed a wild type-like phenotype. These data are consistent with a model in which MtMOT1.3 would be responsible for introducing molybdate into nodule cells, which will be later used to synthesize functional nitrogenase.
Please note that you still may get the preprinted document at BioRxiv.