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Nanobody-driven signaling reveals the core receptor complex in root nodule symbiosis

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Understanding the composition and activation of multicomponent receptor complexes is a challenge in biology. To address this, we developed a synthetic approach based on nanobodies to drive assembly and activation of cell surface receptors and apply the concept by manipulating receptors that govern plant symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. We show that the Lotus japonicus Nod factor receptors NFR1 and NFR5 constitute the core receptor complex initiating the cortical root nodule organogenesis program as well as the epidermal program controlling infection. We find that organogenesis signaling is mediated by the intracellular kinase domains whereas infection requires functional ectodomains. Finally, we identify evolutionarily distant barley receptors that activate root nodule organogenesis, which could enable engineering of biological nitrogen-fixation into cereals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

    Research areas

  • Cell Membrane/metabolism, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Plant Proteins/genetics, Root Nodules, Plant/metabolism, Signal Transduction, Symbiosis/physiology, Single-Domain Antibodies, Medicago truncatula, Lotus, Lipopolysaccharides/metabolism

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