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Plant Cell Physiol. 2006 Nov;47(11):1572-81. Epub 2006 Oct 20.

LjnsRING, a novel RING finger protein, is required for symbiotic interactions between Mesorhizobium loti and Lotus japonicus.

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  • 1Kagawa University, Miki, Kita, Kagawa, 761-0795 Japan.


Nodule-specific (nodulin) genes are thought to play crucial roles during establishment of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between legume plants and Rhizobium bacteria. On the basis of a gene expression database for early stages of the nodulation process of Lotus japonicus, previously constructed by a cDNA macroarray analysis, we identified a novel nodulin gene, LjnsRING, which encodes a protein with a typical RING-H2 finger domain that is well conserved in a number of plant E3 ubiquitin ligases. LjnsRING transcripts were almost exclusively expressed in nodules, and very low expression was detected in roots and shoots. RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown of LjnsRING by hairy root transformation caused impaired root growth together with abortion of nodule formation. Examination with lacZ-labeled Mesorhizobium loti indicated that infection thread formation in the RNAi transgenic hairy roots was significantly inhibited. Analysis using a chimeric gene of LjnsRING promoter and beta-glucuronidase (GUS) coding region demonstrated that LjnsRING transcription in nodules was restricted to the infected cells. These results suggest the requirement for LjnsRING in rhizobial infection and the subsequent nodule formation process.

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