Aromatic amino acid biosynthesis impacts root hair development and symbiotic associations in Lotus japonicus

Jesús Montiel*, Ivette García-Soto, Euan K. James, Dugald Reid, Luis Cárdenas, Selene Napsucialy-Mendivil, Shaun Ferguson, Joseph G. Dubrovsky, Jens Stougaard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Legume roots can be symbiotically colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In Lotus japonicus, the latter occurs intracellularly by the cognate rhizobial partner Mesorhizobium loti or intercellularly with the Agrobacterium pusense strain IRBG74. Although these symbiotic programs show distinctive cellular and transcriptome signatures, some molecular components are shared. In this study, we demonstrate that 3-deoxy-d-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase 1 (DAHPS1), the first enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of aromatic amino acids (AAAs), plays a critical role in root hair development and for AM and rhizobial symbioses in Lotus. Two homozygous DAHPS1 mutants (dahps1-1 and dahps1-2) showed drastic alterations in root hair morphology, associated with alterations in cell wall dynamics and a progressive disruption of the actin cytoskeleton. The altered root hair structure was prevented by pharmacological and genetic complementation. dahps1-1 and dahps1-2 showed significant reductions in rhizobial infection (intracellular and intercellular) and nodule organogenesis and a delay in AM colonization. RNAseq analysis of dahps1-2 roots suggested that these phenotypes are associated with downregulation of several cell wall-related genes, and with an attenuated signaling response. Interestingly, the dahps1 mutants showed no detectable pleiotropic effects, suggesting a more selective recruitment of this gene in certain biological processes. This work provides robust evidence linking AAA metabolism to root hair development and successful symbiotic associations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology
Pages (from-to)1508-1526
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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