On the species of origin: diagnosing the source of symbiotic transcripts.
BACKGROUND: Most organisms have developed ways to recognize and interact with other species. Symbiotic interactions range from pathogenic to mutualistic. Some molecular mechanisms of interspecific interaction are well understood, but many remain to be discovered. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from cultures of interacting symbionts can help identify transcripts that regulate symbiosis, but present a unique challenge for functional analysis. Given a sequence expressed in an interaction between two symbionts, the challenge is to determine from which organism the transcript originated. For high-throughput sequencing from interaction cultures, a reliable computational approach is needed. Previous investigations into GC nucleotide content and comparative similarity searching provide provisional solutions, but a comparative lexical analysis, which uses a likelihood-ratio test of hexamer counts, is more powerful. RESULTS: Validation with genes whose origin and function are known yielded 94% accuracy. Microbial (non-plant) transcripts comprised 75% of a Phytophthora sojae-infected soybean (Glycine max cv Harasoy) library, contrasted with 15% or less in root tissue libraries of Medicago truncatula from axenic, Phytophthora medicaginis-infected, mycorrhizal, and rhizobacterial treatments. Mycorrhizal libraries contained about 23% microbial transcripts; an axenic plant library contained a similar proportion of putative microbial transcripts. CONCLUSIONS: Comparative lexical analysis offers numerous advantages over alternative approaches. Many of the transcripts isolated from mixed cultures were of unknown function, suggesting specificity to symbiotic metabolism and therefore candidates likely to be interesting for further functional investigation. Future investigations will determine whether the abundance of non-plant transcripts in a pure plant library indicates procedural artifacts, horizontally transferred genes, or other phenomena. (+info)
A phosphate transporter gene from the extra-radical mycelium of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices is regulated in response to phosphate in the environment.
The majority of vascular flowering plants are able to form symbiotic associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These symbioses, termed arbuscular mycorrhizas, are mutually beneficial, and the fungus delivers phosphate to the plant while receiving carbon. In these symbioses, phosphate uptake by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus is the first step in the process of phosphate transport to the plant. Previously, we cloned a phosphate transporter gene involved in this process. Here, we analyze the expression and regulation of a phosphate transporter gene (GiPT) in the extra-radical mycelium of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices during mycorrhizal association with carrot or Medicago truncatula roots. These analyses reveal that GiPT expression is regulated in response to phosphate concentrations in the environment surrounding the extra-radical hyphae and modulated by the overall phosphate status of the mycorrhiza. Phosphate concentrations, typical of those found in the soil solution, result in expression of GiPT. These data imply that G. intraradices can perceive phosphate levels in the external environment but also suggest the presence of an internal phosphate sensing mechanism. (+info)
Overlapping plant signal transduction pathways induced by a parasitic nematode and a rhizobial endosymbiont.
Root-knot nematodes and rhizobia establish interactions with roots characterized by the de novo induction of host structures, termed giant cells and nodules, respectively. Two transcription regulators, PHAN and KNOX, required for the establishment of meristems were previously shown to be expressed in tomato giant cells. We isolated the orthologues of PHAN and KNOX (Mt-phan and Mt-knox-1) from the model legume Medicago truncatula, and established the spatial distribution of their expression in situ. We confirmed that Mt-phan and Mt-knox-1 are expressed in lateral root initials and in nematode-induced giant cells and showed that they are expressed in nodules induced by Sinorhizobium meliloti. Expression of both genes becomes spatially restricted as the nodules develop. We further examined nematode feeding sites for the expression of two genes involved in nodule formation, ccs52 (encodes a mitotic inhibitor) and ENOD40 (encodes an early, nodulation mitogen), and found transcripts of both genes to be present in and around giant cells induced in Medicago. Collectively, these results reveal common elements of host responses to mutualistic and parasitic plant endosymbionts and imply that overlapping regulatory pathways lead to giant cells and nodules. We discuss these pathways in the context of phytohormones and parallels between beneficial symbiosis and disease. (+info)
Salmonella Typhimurium infections transmitted by chlorine-pretreated clover sprout seeds.
Raw seed sprouts have caused numerous outbreaks of enteric infections. Presoaking seeds in a 20,000 mg/liter (ppm) calcium hypochlorite solution before sprouting is recommended to reduce bacterial contamination and infection risk. In 1999, the authors investigated an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium infections in Colorado. In a case-control study, they matched 20 cases with 58 controls by age, sex, and telephone prefix; 10 (52%) of 19 cases and no controls recalled eating raw alfalfa-style sprouts in the 5 days before the patient's illness (p < 0.00001). Traceback implicated clover sprouts grown from seeds shared by two sprouters. The time period and region over which these sprouts were sold matched the occurrences of 112 culture-confirmed illnesses. Only one of the sprouters presoaked seeds as recommended, and fewer infections were attributable to this sprouter (0.29 vs. 1.13 culture-confirmed infections/50-pound (110.1-kg) bag of seed). After recall of the implicated sprouts and seed, S. Typhimurium illnesses declined. Contaminated raw clover sprouts can cause outbreaks of enteric illness. Presoaking contaminated seeds in a 20,000 mg/liter calcium hypochlorite solution reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of infection. Until safer production methods are developed, persons eating raw sprouts continue to risk developing potentially serious gastrointestinal illness. (+info)
Medicago truncatula plants overexpressing the early nodulin gene enod40 exhibit accelerated mycorrhizal colonization and enhanced formation of arbuscules.
The mutualistic symbiosis between flowering plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi is extremely abundant in terrestrial ecosystems. In this symbiosis, obligately biotrophic fungi colonize the root of the host plants, which can benefit from these fungi by enhanced access to mineral nutrients in the soil, especially phosphorus. One of the main goals of research on this symbiosis is to find plant genes that control fungal development in the host plant. In this work, we show that mycorrhizal colonization is regulated by enod40, an early nodulin gene known to be involved in the nodule symbiosis of legumes with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Medicago truncatula plants overexpressing enod40 exhibited stimulated mycorrhizal colonization in comparison with control plants. Overexpression of enod40 promoted fungal growth in the root cortex and increased the frequency of arbuscule formation. Transgenic lines with suppressed levels of enod40 transcripts, likely via a cosuppression phenomenon induced by the transgene, exhibited reduced mycorrhizal colonization. Hence, enod40 might be a plant regulatory gene involved in the control of the mycorrhizal symbiosis. (+info)
Immunodominant membrane proteins from two phytoplasmas in the aster yellows clade (chlorante aster yellows and clover phyllody) are highly divergent in the major hydrophilic region.
The mechanisms by which phytoplasmas interact with their hosts are not understood. Mollicute membrane proteins may play a role in such interactions and therefore the amp genes encoding immunodominant proteins from two phytoplasmas, aster yellows and clover phyllody, which fall within the largest taxonomic subclade of the phytoplasmas, have been cloned and characterized. The putative translation products, antigenic membrane proteins (Amps), of these genes have properties which are typical for bacterial membrane proteins, and which suggest that each has a single large extracellular hydrophilic domain held by a transmembrane region near the C-terminus, with only a short C-terminal intracellular sequence. Both of the Amps characterized here have bacterial leader sequences which are cleaved during maturation. Whilst the signal peptide and transmembrane regions of the two proteins are very similar, the major hydrophilic domains are highly divergent in both size and sequence. The Amps from the two phytoplasmas are also different in structure and sequence from the immunodominant membrane proteins of three other phytoplasmas whose genes have been cloned previously. (+info)
The molecular genetic linkage map of the model legume Medicago truncatula: an essential tool for comparative legume genomics and the isolation of agronomically important genes.
BACKGROUND: The legume Medicago truncatula has emerged as a model plant for the molecular and genetic dissection of various plant processes involved in rhizobial, mycorrhizal and pathogenic plant-microbe interactions. Aiming to develop essential tools for such genetic approaches, we have established the first genetic map of this species. Two parental homozygous lines were selected from the cultivar Jemalong and from the Algerian natural population (DZA315) on the basis of their molecular and phenotypic polymorphism. RESULTS: An F2 segregating population of 124 individuals between these two lines was obtained using an efficient manual crossing technique established for M. truncatula and was used to construct a genetic map. This map spans 1225 cM (average 470 kb/cM) and comprises 289 markers including RAPD, AFLP, known genes and isoenzymes arranged in 8 linkage groups (2n = 16). Markers are uniformly distributed throughout the map and segregation distortion is limited to only 3 linkage groups. By mapping a number of common markers, the eight linkage groups are shown to be homologous to those of diploid alfalfa (M. sativa), implying a good level of macrosynteny between the two genomes. Using this M. truncatula map and the derived F3 populations, we were able to map the Mtsym6 symbiotic gene on linkage group 8 and the SPC gene, responsible for the direction of pod coiling, on linkage group 7. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that Medicago truncatula is amenable to diploid genetic analysis and they open the way to map-based cloning of symbiotic or other agronomically-important genes using this model plant. (+info)
Pharmacological analysis of nod factor-induced calcium spiking in Medicago truncatula. Evidence for the requirement of type IIA calcium pumps and phosphoinositide signaling.
Bacterial Nod factors trigger a number of cellular responses in root hairs of compatible legume hosts, which include periodic, transient increases in cytosolic calcium levels, termed calcium spiking. We screened 13 pharmaceutical modulators of eukaryotic signal transduction for effects on Nod factor-induced calcium spiking. The purpose of this screening was 2-fold: to implicate enzymes required for Nod factor-induced calcium spiking in Medicago sp., and to identify inhibitors of calcium spiking suitable for correlating calcium spiking to other Nod factor responses to begin to understand the function of calcium spiking in Nod factor signal transduction. 2-Aminoethoxydiphenylborate, caffeine, cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), 2,5-di-(t-butyl)-1,4-hydroquinone, and U-73122 inhibit Nod factor-induced calcium spiking. CPA and U-73122 are inhibitors of plant type IIA calcium pumps and phospholipase C, respectively, and implicate the requirement for these enzymes in Nod factor-induced calcium spiking. CPA and U-73122 inhibit Nod factor-induced calcium spiking robustly at concentrations with no apparent toxicity to root hairs, making CPA and U-73122 suitable for testing whether calcium spiking is causal to subsequent Nod factor responses. (+info)