Legume plants have the ability to establish a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria known as rhizobia. The legume-rhizobium symbiosis results in the formation of symbiotic root nodules, where rhizobia fix atmospheric nitrogen. A host plant controls the number of symbiotic nodules to meet its nitrogen demands. CLE (CLAVATA3/EMBRYO SURROUNDING REGION) peptides produced in the root in response to rhizobial inoculation and/or nitrate have been shown to control the number of symbiotic nodules. Previously, the MtCLE35 gene was found to be upregulated by rhizobia and nitrate treatment in Medicago truncatula, which systemically inhibited nodulation when overexpressed. In this study, we obtained several knock-out lines in which the MtCLE35 gene was mutated using the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated system. M. truncatula lines with the MtCLE35 gene knocked out produced increased numbers of nodules in the presence of nitrate in comparison to wild-type plants. Moreover, in the presence of nitrate, the expression levels of two other nodulation-related MtCLE genes, MtCLE12 and MtCLE13, were reduced in rhizobia-inoculated roots, whereas no significant difference in MtCLE35 gene expression was observed between nitrate-treated and rhizobia-inoculated control roots. Together, these findings suggest the key role of MtCLE35 in the number of nodule numbers under high-nitrate conditions, under which the expression levels of other nodulation-related MtCLE genes are reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16816
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number23
StatePublished - 27 Nov 2023

    Research areas

  • CLE peptides, autoregulation of nodulation (AON), nitrate, nodulation, rhizobia

ID: 114378031