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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 19;102(29):10369-74. Epub 2005 Jul 8.

SrSymRK, a plant receptor essential for symbiosome formation.

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  • 1Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium.


The symbiosis between legumes and rhizobia is essential for the nitrogen input into the life cycle on our planet. New root organs, the nodules, are established, which house N2-fixing bacteria internalized into the host cell cytoplasm as horizontally acquired organelles, the symbiosomes. The interaction is initiated by bacterial invasion via epidermal root hair curling and cell division in the cortex, both triggered by bacterial nodulation factors. Of the several genes involved in nodule initiation that have been identified, one encodes the leucine-rich repeat-type receptor kinase SymRK. In SymRK mutants of Lotus japonicus or its orthologs in Medicago sp. and Pisum sativum, nodule initiation is arrested at the level of the root hair interaction. Because of the epidermal block, the role of SymRK at later stages of nodule development remained enigmatic. To analyze the role of SymRK downstream of the epidermis, the water-tolerant legume Sesbania rostrata was used that has developed a nodulation strategy to circumvent root hair responses for bacterial invasion. Evidence is provided that SymRK plays an essential role during endosymbiotic uptake in plant cells.

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