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Structure-function analysis of the GmRIC1 signal peptide and CLE domain required for nodulation control in soybean

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  • Dugald Reid
  • Dongxue Li
  • ,
  • Brett J Ferguson
  • ,
  • Peter M Gresshoff

Legumes control the nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis in response to external and internal stimuli, such as nitrate, and via systemic autoregulation of nodulation (AON). Overexpression of the CLV3/ESR-related (CLE) pre-propeptide-encoding genes GmNIC1 (nitrate-induced and acting locally) and GmRIC1 (Bradyrhizobium-induced and acting systemically) suppresses soybean nodulation dependent on the activity of the nodulation autoregulation receptor kinase (GmNARK). This nodule inhibition response was used to assess the relative importance of key structural components within and around the CLE domain sequences of these genes. Using a site-directed mutagenesis approach, mutants were produced at each amino acid within the CLE domain (RLAPEGPDPHHN) of GmRIC1. This approach identified the Arg1, Ala3, Pro4, Gly6, Pro7, Asp8, His11, and Asn12 residues as critical to GmRIC1 nodulation suppression activity (NSA). In contrast, none of the mutations in conserved residues outside of the CLE domain showed compromised NSA. Chimeric genes derived from combinations of GmRIC1 and GmNIC1 domains were used to determine the role of each pre-propeptide domain in NSA differences that exist between the two peptides. It was found that the transit peptide and CLE peptide regions of GmRIC1 significantly enhanced activity of GmNIC1. In contrast, the comparable GmNIC1 domains reduced the NSA of GmRIC1. Identification of these critical residues and domains provides a better understanding of how these hormone-like peptides function in plant development and regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesJournal of Experimental Botany
Pages (from-to)1575-85
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Amino Acid Motifs, Amino Acid Sequence, Bradyrhizobium, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Genes, Plant, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Nitrogen Fixation, Plant Proteins, Plant Root Nodulation, Plants, Genetically Modified, Point Mutation, Protein Sorting Signals, Soybeans, Static Electricity, Structure-Activity Relationship, Symbiosis

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