While promiscuity in humans is often disdained, symbiotic promiscuity can be a sign of excellent teamwork in other species. Plant growth, especially in legumes, thrives on cross-reactivity with soil bacteria, known as rhizobia. The successful reaction culminates with the formation of a root nodule, whereby the roots provide nitrogen to the plant. This association depends on complex chemical dialogues, which constrain bacterial and plant compatibility. However, exceptional cases of symbiotic admixture may occur, and some legumes can develop nitrogen-fixing nodules with diverse rhizomes.
A recent study published in Molecular interactions of plant microbes Mehmet Zarabian of Aarhus University and colleagues discovered one such case with legumes Bertie’s Lotus. While the species are closely related japonicus lotus Developed only two-lineage nodules, the researchers revealed L. burttii It can form nodules—properly colonized by bacteria—with as many as 30 different root strains due to a single area, or location, in L. burttii genome.
This exceptional symbiotic admixture regardless of rootstock indicates that the site contains valuable information about genetic elements in the legume-rhizobial symbiosis. In this context, studies have mainly focused on the bacterial perspective, but analysis of the plant perspective has revealed a key genetic region of root compatibility in L. burttii.
According to corresponding author Stig U. Andersen, the genetic analysis in this study can improve crops by naturally promoting their growth through symbiotic associations. “Our study lays the foundation for understanding the genetics of symbiotic admixture of legumes,” Andersen comments. “This could allow the development of crops that favor a specific symbiont or are able to interact with a wide range of symbionts, depending on what is desired in a particular farming system.”
This research reveals the remarkable diversity in legume-rhizobium interactions in terms of host range and outcome of the symbiotic interaction, which is a fertile area of study for further excavation and cultivation.
For additional details, read “The mixing venue gives Lotus Porte a nod with Rhizobia from five different gendersPublished in Vol. 35, No. 11 November 2022 from MPMI.
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About plant-microbe molecular interactions (MPMI)
Molecular interactions of plant microbes® (MPMI) is an open-access gold journal that publishes basic and advanced applied research on the genetics, genomics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics of pathogenic, symbiotic, and associative interactions of microbes, insects, nematodes, or parasitic plants with plants.
Molecular interactions of plant microbes
The mixing venue gives Lotus Porte a nod with Rhizobia from five different genders
The date the article was published
November 22, 2022
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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