Natural variation identifies a Pxy gene controlling root vascular organization and formation of nodules and lateral roots in Lotus japonicus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Y. KawaharadaStig U. Andersen


Forward and reverse genetics using the model legumes Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula have been instrumental for identifying the essential genes governing legume-rhizobial symbiosis. However, little is known about the effects of intraspecific variation on symbiotic signaling. The Lotus accessions Gifu and MG20 show differentiated phenotypic responses to the Mesorhizobium loti exoU mutant that produces truncated exopolysaccharides. Using Quantitative Trait Locus sequencing (QTL-seq), we identify the Pxy gene as a component of this differential exoU response. Lotus Pxy encodes a leucine-rich-repeat kinase similar to Arabidopsis PXY, which regulates stem vascular development. We show that Lotus pxy insertion mutants display defects in root vascular organization, as well as lateral root and nodule formation. Our work links Pxy to de novo organogenesis in the root, highlights the genetic overlap between regulation of lateral root and nodule formation, and demonstrates that specific natural variants of Pxy differentially affect nodulation signaling.

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