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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2015 Aug;28(8):856-68. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-12-14-0407-R. Epub 2015 Jul 16.

Transcriptomic Analysis of Sinorhizobium meliloti and Medicago truncatula Symbiosis Using Nitrogen Fixation-Deficient Nodules.

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Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, U.S.A.


The bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti interacts symbiotically with legume plant hosts such as Medicago truncatula to form nitrogen-fixing root nodules. During symbiosis, plant and bacterial cells differentiate in a coordinated manner, resulting in specialized plant cells that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteroids. Both plant and bacterial genes are required at each developmental stage of symbiosis. We analyzed gene expression in nodules formed by wild-type bacteria on six plant mutants with defects in nitrogen fixation. We observed differential expression of 482 S. meliloti genes with functions in cell envelope homeostasis, cell division, stress response, energy metabolism, and nitrogen fixation. We simultaneously analyzed gene expression in M. truncatula and observed differential regulation of host processes that may trigger bacteroid differentiation and control bacterial infection. Our analyses of developmentally arrested plant mutants indicate that plants use distinct means to control bacterial infection during early and late symbiotic stages.

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