Nod factors alter the microtubule cytoskeleton in Medicago truncatula root hairs to allow root hair reorientation

B. Sieberer, A.C.J. Timmers, A.M.C. Emons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton is an important part of the tip-growth machinery in legume root hairs. Here we report the effect of Nod factor (NF) on MTs in root hairs of Medicago truncatula. In tip-growing hairs, the ones that typically curl around rhizobia, NF caused a subtle shortening of the endoplasmic MT array, which recovered within 10 min, whereas cortical MTs were not visibly affected. In growth-arresting root hairs, endoplasmic MTs disappeared shortly after NF application, but reformed within 20 min, whereas cortical MTs remained present in a high density. After NF treatment, growth-arresting hairs were swelling at their tips, after which a new outgrowth formed that deviated with a certain angle from the former growth axis. MT depolymerization with oryzalin caused a growth deviation similar to the NF; whereas, combined with NF, oryzalin increased and the MT-stabilizing drug taxol suppressed NF-induced growth deviation. The NF-induced disappearance of the endoplasmic MTs correlated with a loss of polar cytoarchitecture and straight growth directionality, whereas the reappearance of endoplasmic MTs correlated with the new set up of polar cytoarchitecture. Drug studies showed that MTs are involved in determining root hair elongation in a new direction after NF treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1204
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • lipo-oligosaccharide signals
  • preprophase band formation
  • symbiotic host-specificity
  • receptor kinase gene
  • endoplasmic microtubules
  • rhizobium-meliloti
  • vicia-sativa
  • nodulation factors
  • tip growth
  • f-actin


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