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Aeschynomene evenia, a model plant for studying the molecular genetics of the nod-independent rhizobium-legume symbiosis

Arrighi J.F., Cartieaux F., Brown S., Rodier-Goud M., Boursot M., Fardoux J., Patrel D., Gully D., Fabre S., Chaintreuil C., Giraud E.. 2012. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 25 (7) : p. 851-861.

Research on the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis has been focused, thus far, on two model legumes, Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus, which use a sophisticated infection process involving infection thread formation. However, in 25% of the legumes, the bacterial entry occurs more simply in an intercellular fashion. Among them, some Aeschynomene spp. are nodulated by photosynthetic Bradyrhizobium spp. that do not produce Nod factors. This interaction is believed to represent a living testimony of the ancestral state of the rhizobium-legume symbiosis. To decipher the mechanisms of this Nod-independent process, we propose Aeschynomene evenia as a model legume because it presents all the characteristics required for genetic and molecular analysis. It is a short-perennial and autogamous species, with a diploid and relatively small genome (2n = 20; 460 Mb/1C). A. evenia 'IRFL6945' is nodulated by the well-characterized photosynthetic Bradyrhizobium sp. strain ORS278 and is efficiently transformed by Agrobacterium rhizogenes. Aeschynomene evenia is genetically homozygous but polymorphic accessions were found. A manual hybridization procedure has been set up, allowing directed crosses. Therefore, it should be relatively straightforward to unravel the molecular determinants of the Nod-independent process in A. evenia. This should shed new light on the evolution of rhizobium-legume symbiosis and could have important agronomic implications. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : aeschynomène

Thématique : Physiologie et biochimie végétales; Génétique et amélioration des plantes

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