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PLANT CELL 16 (4): 933-944

Copyright © 2004 by the American Society of Plant Physiologists.

A Nonsymbiotic Root Hair Tip Growth Phenotype in NORK-Mutated Legumes: Implications for Nodulation Factor–Induced Signaling and Formation of a Multifaceted Root Hair Pocket for Bacteria

John J. Esseling, Franck G.P. Lhuissier, and Anne Mie C. Emons1

Laboratory of Plant Cell Biology, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, Arboretumlaan 4, 6703 BD Wageningen, The Netherlands

1 To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail annemie.emons{at}wur.nl; fax 31 317 485005.

Abstract: The Medicago truncatula Does not Make Infections (DMI2) mutant is mutated in the nodulation receptor-like kinase, NORK. Here, we report that NORK-mutated legumes of three species show an enhanced touch response to experimental handling, which results in a nonsymbiotic root hair phenotype. When care is taken not to induce this response, DMI2 root hairs respond morphologically like the wild type to nodulation factor (NF). Global NF application results in root hair deformation, and NF spot application induces root hair reorientation or branching, depending on the position of application. In the presence of Sinorhizobium meliloti, DMI2 root hairs make two-dimensional 180° curls but do not entrap bacteria in a three-dimensional pocket because curling stops when the root hair tip touches its own shank. Because DMI2 does not express the promoter of M. truncatula Early Nodulin11 (ENOD11) coupled to ß-glucuronidase upon NF application, we propose a split in NF-induced signaling, with one branch to root hair curling and the other to ENOD11 expression.


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