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Plant J. 2010 Jun 1;62(5):852-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04201.x. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

A member of the highly conserved FWL (tomato FW2.2-like) gene family is essential for soybean nodule organogenesis.

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Division of Plant Sciences, National Center for Soybean Biotechnology, Division of Biochemistry, C.S. Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


A soybean homolog of the tomato FW2.2 gene, here named GmFWL1 (Glycine max FW2.2-like 1), was found to respond strongly to inoculation with the nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacterium Bradyrhizobium japonicum. In tomato, the FW2.2 gene is hypothesized to control 30% of the variance in fruit weight by negatively regulating cell division. In the present study, the induction of GmFWL1 expression in root hair cells and nodules in response to B. japonicum inoculation was documented using quantitative RT-PCR and transcriptional fusions to both beta-glucuronidase (GUS) and green fluorescent protein (GFP). RNAi-mediated silencing of GmFWL1 expression resulted in a significant reduction in nodule number, with a concomitant reduction in nuclear size and changes in chromatin structure. The reduction in nuclear size is probably due to a change in DNA heterochromatinization, as the ploidy level of wild-type and RNAi-silenced nodule cells was similar. GmFWL1 was localized to the plasma membrane. The data suggest that GmFWL1 probably acts indirectly, perhaps through a cellular cascade, to affect chromatin structure/nuclei architecture. As previously proposed in tomato, this function may be a result of effects on plant cell division.

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