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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2015;316:111-58. doi: 10.1016/bs.ircmb.2015.01.004. Epub 2015 Feb 20.

Leguminous plants: inventors of root nodules to accommodate symbiotic bacteria.

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National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki, Japan; School of Life Science, Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Okazaki, Japan.


Legumes and a few other plant species can establish a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, which enables them to survive in a nitrogen-deficient environment. During the course of nodulation, infection with rhizobia induces the dedifferentiation of host cells to form primordia of a symbiotic organ, the nodule, which prepares plants to accommodate rhizobia in host cells. While these nodulation processes are known to be genetically controlled by both plants and rhizobia, recent advances in studies on two model legumes, Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula, have provided great insight into the underlying plant-side molecular mechanism. In this chapter, we review such knowledge, with particular emphasis on two key processes of nodulation, nodule development and rhizobial invasion.


Autoregulation of nodulation; Infection thread; Lotus japonicus; Medicago truncatula; Nod factor; Nodule development; Root hair; Root nodule symbiosis

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