Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Symbiosis Receptor Identified

Science's STKE  02 Jul 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 139, pp. tw234-TW234
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.139.tw234

Two groups (Stracke et al. and Endre et al.) report the cloning of a receptor involved in the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants and between bacteria and plants. The fungi or bacteria supply essential nutrients in exchange for carbon from the plants, allowing the plants to live in nutrient-poor environments. Stracke et al. cloned the gene mutated in Lotus japonicus that results in the inability of the plants to be colonized by either arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi or the bacteria that result in the formation of root nodules in the host plant. Endre et al. cloned the gene from a mutant alfalfa that cannot form root nodules or be colonized by arbuscular micorrhizal fungi. Each group identified a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) transmembrane protein with a putative intracellular kinase domain. These LRR-containing receptors are a very large family in plants, with Arabidopsis having 174 members. In plants and animals, LRR-containing receptors have been implicated in developmental processes and immune signaling. Thus, symbiosis signaling can be added to the list of functions of this family of proteins (see Spaink).

S. Stracke, C Kistner, S. Yoshida, L. Mulder, S. Sato, T. Kaneko, S. Tabata, N. Sandal, J. Stougaard, K. Szczyglowski, M. Parniske, A plant receptor-like kinase required for both bacterial and fungal symbiosis. Nature 417, 959-962 (2002). [Online Journal]

G. Endre, A. Kereszt, Z. Kevel, S. Mihacea, P. Kaló, G. B. Kiss, A receptor kinase gene regulating symbiotic nodule development. Nature 417, 962-966 (2002). [Online Journal]

H. P. Spaink, A receptor in symbiotic dialogue. Nature 417, 910-911 (2002). [Online Journal]