Shoot control of root development and nodulation is mediated by a receptor-like kinase


In legumes, root nodule organogenesis is activated in response to morphogenic lipochitin oligosaccharides that are synthesized by bacteria, commonly known as rhizobia1. Successful symbiotic interaction results in the formation of highly specialized organs called root nodules, which provide a unique environment for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. In wild-type plants the number of nodules is regulated by a signalling mechanism integrating environmental and developmental cues to arrest most rhizobial infections within the susceptible zone of the root2,3,4,5,6,7. Furthermore, a feedback mechanism controls the temporal and spatial susceptibility to infection of the root system. This mechanism is referred to as autoregulation of nodulation, as earlier nodulation events inhibit nodulation of younger root tissues3,4,8. Lotus japonicus plants homozygous for a mutation in the hypernodulation aberrant root (har1) locus escape this regulation and form an excessive number of nodules9,10,11. Here we report the molecular cloning and expression analysis of the HAR1 gene and the pea orthologue, Pisum sativum, SYM29. HAR1 encodes a putative serine/threonine receptor kinase, which is required for shoot-controlled regulation of root growth, nodule number, and for nitrate sensitivity of symbiotic development.

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Figure 1: Grafting of har1 mutants and wild-type plants.
Figure 2: Map-based cloning of HAR1.
Figure 3: Structure of the HAR1 gene and domains of the HAR1 protein.
Figure 4: Expression of the HAR1 and P. sativum SYM29 genes in different plant organs under symbiotic and non-symbiotic conditions.


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This work was funded by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fishery. Support was also provided by the National Science Foundation and the Kazusa DNA Research Institute Foundation. The Danish Agricultural and Veterinary Research Council supports L.K. We thank K. Keegstra for administrative support during the course of the work, A. Albin for administrative assistance, and H. de Larembergue for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Jens Stougaard.

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Krusell, L., Madsen, L., Sato, S. et al. Shoot control of root development and nodulation is mediated by a receptor-like kinase. Nature 420, 422–426 (2002).

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