Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Long-Distance Legume Signaling

Science's STKE  07 Jan 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 164, pp. tw7-TW7
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.164.tw7

Plant meristems serve as repositories of stem cells, on call to contribute to the development of various organs and tissues. One type of meristem forms in the roots of legumes, where, upon interaction with nodulation signals from bacteria in the soil, it gives rise to nitrogen-fixing symbiotic nodules. Searle et al. now find that cell proliferation in these primordia of soybean is regulated by a receptor-like protein kinase, GmNARK, that is expressed in the plant's leaves. GmNARK resembles the Arabidopsis CLAVATA1 (CLV1) protein that regulates cell proliferation in shoot apical meristems and that affects shoot and floral development. An interesting divergence in the signaling system that these two proteins represent is that CLV1 acts over the short distances within the shoot apical meristem, whereas GmNARK acts from leaf to root. Soybean also has another gene that resembles CLV1, GmCLV1A, that functions within the shoot apical meristem in seemingly the same way as does CLV1.

I. R. Searle, A. E. Men, T. S. Laniya, D. M. Buzas, I. Iturbe-Ormaetxe, B. J. Carroll, P. M. Gresshoff, Long-distance signaling in nodulation directed by a CLAVATA1-like receptor kinase. Science 299, 109-112 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]