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Plant J. 2012 Nov;72(3):512-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05099.x. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

The microRNA miR171h modulates arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization of Medicago truncatula by targeting NSP2.

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Université de Toulouse, UMR 5546, Laboratoire de Recherche en Sciences Végétales, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan Cedex, France.


Most land plants live symbiotically with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Establishment of this symbiosis requires signals produced by both partners: strigolactones in root exudates stimulate pre-symbiotic growth of the fungus, which releases lipochito-oligosaccharides (Myc-LCOs) that prepare the plant for symbiosis. Here, we have investigated the events downstream of this early signaling in the roots. We report that expression of miR171h, a microRNA that targets NSP2, is up-regulated in the elongation zone of the root during colonization by Rhizophagus irregularis (formerly Glomus intraradices) and in response to Myc-LCOs. Fungal colonization was much reduced by over-expressing miR171h in roots, mimicking the phenotype of nsp2 mutants. Conversely, in plants expressing an NSP2 mRNA resistant to miR171h cleavage, fungal colonization was much increased and extended into the elongation zone of the roots. Finally, phylogenetic analyses revealed that miR171h regulation of NSP2 is probably conserved among mycotrophic plants. Our findings suggest a regulatory mechanism, triggered by Myc-LCOs, that prevents over-colonization of roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi by a mechanism involving miRNA-mediated negative regulation of NSP2.

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