Expression of Tenod40, a tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Xanthi nc) homologue of Msenod40, a gene expressed early during alfalfa (Medicago sativa) nodule development, was significantly and consistently increased (about three-fold) in tobacco roots of plants grown in sand and colonized by the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Glomus intraradices, as compared to non-mycorrhizal controls. In alfalfa (Medicago sativa cv. Gilboa), a similar induction of Msenod40 expression was also detected in mycorrhizal vs. non-mycorrhizal roots. In the same experimental system, the application of the cytokinin 6-benzylaminopurine to non-mycorrhizal roots resulted in a similar increase in Msenod40 expression. A significantly higher incidence of AM fungal colonization (vesicles per cm of root) in M. sativa cv. Gilboa roots was observed following application of luteolin-induced Sinorhizobium meliloti exudates as compared to plants amended with non-induced exudates. Moreover, overexpression of the Mtenod40 gene in Medicago truncatula plants under the control of a 35S constitutive promoter resulted in significantly enhanced colonization as compared to non-transgenic plants. The fact that enod40 gene expression was increased both in a legume and in a non-legume during colonization by the AM fungus, and that colonization levels were higher in enod40-overexpressing transgenic plants strongly suggests that this gene is involved in the establishment of the fungal partner in its host.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to express their gratitude to Martin Crespi and Adam Kondorosi of the Institut des Sciences Vegetales, CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, France for seeds of constitutively expressing enod40 M. truncatula transgenic plants. The Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture supported the research from YK's laboratory described in this paper.