The strigolactone biosynthesis gene DWARF27 is co-opted in rhizobium symbiosis

A.L. van Zeijl, W. Liu, T.T. Xiao, W. Kohlen, W.C. Yang, T. Bisseling, R. Geurts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Background Strigolactones are a class of plant hormones whose biosynthesis is activated in response to phosphate starvation. This involves several enzymes, including the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases 7 (CCD7) and CCD8 and the carotenoid isomerase DWARF27 (D27). D27 expression is known to be responsive to phosphate starvation. In Medicago truncatula and rice (Oryza sativa) this transcriptional response requires the GRAS-type proteins NSP1 and NSP2; both proteins are essential for rhizobium induced root nodule formation in legumes. In line with this, we questioned whether MtNSP1-MtNSP2 dependent MtD27 regulation is co-opted in rhizobium symbiosis. Results We provide evidence that MtD27 is involved in strigolactone biosynthesis in M. truncatula roots upon phosphate stress. Spatiotemporal expression studies revealed that this gene is also highly expressed in nodule primordia and subsequently becomes restricted to the meristem and distal infection zone of a mature nodules. A similar expression pattern was found for MtCCD7 and MtCCD8. Rhizobium lipo-chitooligosaccharide (LCO) application experiments revealed that of these genes MtD27 is most responsive in an MtNSP1 and MtNSP2 dependent manner. Symbiotic expression of MtD27 requires components of the symbiosis signaling pathway; including MtDMI1, MtDMI2, MtDMI3/MtCCaMK and in part MtERN1. This in contrast to MtD27 expression upon phosphate starvation, which only requires MtNSP1 and MtNSP2. Conclusion Our data show that the phosphate-starvation responsive strigolactone biosynthesis gene MtD27 is also rapidly induced by rhizobium LCO signals in an MtNSP1 and MtNSP2-dependent manner. Additionally, we show that MtD27 is co-expressed with MtCCD7 and MtCCD8 in nodule primordia and in the infection zone of mature nodules.
Original languageEnglish
Article number260
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • CCD7
  • CCD8
  • DWARF27
  • Lipo-chitooligosaccharide
  • Medicago truncatula
  • Nod factors
  • Nodulation
  • Phosphate starvation
  • Rhizobium
  • Strigolactones


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