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Front Plant Sci. 2016 Apr 8;7:454. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00454. eCollection 2016.

Reactive Oxygen Species and Nitric Oxide Control Early Steps of the Legume - Rhizobium Symbiotic Interaction.

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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech, UMR INRA Université Nice Sophia Antipolis CNRS Sophia Antipolis, France.


The symbiotic interaction between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobium bacteria leads to the formation of a new organ, the nodule. Early steps of the interaction are characterized by the production of bacterial Nod factors, the reorientation of root-hair tip growth, the formation of an infection thread (IT) in the root hair, and the induction of cell division in inner cortical cells of the root, leading to a nodule primordium formation. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) have been detected in early steps of the interaction. ROS/NO are determinant signals to arbitrate the specificity of this mutualistic association and modifications in their content impair the development of the symbiotic association. The decrease of ROS level prevents root hair curling and ITs formation, and that of NO conducts to delayed nodule formation. In root hairs, NADPH oxidases were shown to produce ROS which could be involved in the hair tip growth process. The use of enzyme inhibitors suggests that nitrate reductase and NO synthase-like enzymes are the main route for NO production during the early steps of the interaction. Transcriptomic analyses point to the involvement of ROS and NO in the success of the infection process, the induction of early nodulin gene expression, and the repression of plant defense, thereby favoring the establishment of the symbiosis. The occurrence of an interplay between ROS and NO was further supported by the finding of both S-sulfenylated and S-nitrosylated proteins during early symbiotic interaction, linking ROS/NO production to a redox-based regulation of the symbiotic process.


Rhizobium; legume; nitric oxide; nitrogen fixation; symbiosis

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