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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2006 Aug;19(8):914-23.

Analysis of Nod-factor-induced calcium signaling in root hairs of symbiotically defective mutants of Lotus japonicus.

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John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Nodulation (Nod)-factor signaling molecules are essential for rhizobia to initiate the nitrogen-fixing symbiotic interaction with legumes. Using a dual dye ratiometric calcium imaging technique, we have shown that 10 nM Nod factor added to roots of Lotus japonicus seedlings induces an intracellular calcium increase (calcium flux) that precedes oscillations in intracellular calcium (calcium spiking). The calcium flux was not observed with 1 or 0.1 nM Nod factor, which did induce calcium spiking. The calcium flux was variable in timing of initiation and duration and was observed in approximately half of the root hairs examined. Representatives from 11 complementation groups of symbiotically defective mutants were analyzed for the calcium flux. Mutants from four groups (sym6, ccamk, sym35, and nin) which retained calcium spiking all showed a normal calcium flux. Two classes of mutants (nfr1 and nfr5) lacked both calcium influx and calcium spiking, whereas five classes of mutants (symRK, castor, pollux, nup133, and sym24) defective for calcium spiking retained a calcium flux. There was no correlation between calcium spiking and induction of root hair deformation by Nod factor. We propose that increased bacterial numbers within infection foci in root hairs leads to accumulation of Nod factor to sufficient levels to activate the calcium flux, and this may drive infection thread growth.

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