Planta, 2004, Vol.219(4), pp.626-638
The Medicago truncatula (Gaertn.) ecotypes Jemalong A17 and R108-1 differ in Sinorhizobium meliloti -induced chitinase gene expression. The pathogen-inducible class IV chitinase gene, Mtchit 4 , was strongly induced during nodule formation of the ecotype Jemalong A17 with the S. meliloti wild-type strain 1021. In the ecotype R108-1, the S. meliloti wild types Sm1021 and Sm41 did not induce Mtchit 4 expression. On the other hand, expression of the putative class V chitinase gene, Mtchit 5 , was found in roots of M. truncatula cv. R108-1 nodulated with either of the rhizobial strains. Mtchit 5 expression was specific for interactions with rhizobia. It was not induced in response to fungal pathogen attack, and not induced in roots colonized with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Elevated Mtchit 5 gene expression was first detectable in roots forming nodule primordia. In contrast to Mtchit 4 , expression of Mtchit 5 was stimulated by purified Nod factors. Conversely, Mtchit 4 expression was strongly elevated in nodules formed with the K-antigen-deficient mutant PP699. Expression levels of Mtchit 5 were similarly increased in nodules formed with PP699 and its parental wild-type strain Sm41. Phylogenetic analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences of Mtchit 5 (calculated molecular weight = 41,810 Da, isoelectric point pH 7.7) and Mtchit 4 (calculated molecular weight 30,527 Da, isoelectric point pH 4.9) revealed that the putative Mtchit 5 chitinase forms a separate clade within class V chitinases of plants, whereas the Mtchit 4 chitinase clusters with pathogen-induced class IV chitinases from other plants. These findings demonstrate that: (i) Rhizobium -induced chitinase gene expression in M. truncatula occurs in a plant ecotype-specific manner, (ii) Mtchit 5 is a putative chitinase gene that is specifically induced by rhizobia, and (iii) rhizobia-specific and defence-related chitinase genes are differentially influenced by rhizobial Nod factors and K antigens.
Class IV and V chitinase ; K antigen ; ecotypes R108-1 and Jemalong A17 ; Nod factors ; Sinorhizobium ; Suppression of plant defence
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