This chapter discusses the Cell and molecular biology of Rhizobium-plant interactions. Soil bacteria, referred to as rhizobia belonging to the genera Rhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, and Azorhizobium, have the unique ability to induce nitrogen-fixing nodules on the roots or stems of leguminous plants. Nodule development consists of several stages determined by different sets of genes both in the host and symbiont. At least at the very early steps of symbiosis, the bacterial and plant genes are activated consecutively by signal exchanges between the symbiotic partners. First, flavonoid signal molecules exuded by the host plant root induce the expression of nodulation (nod, nol) genes in Rhizobium in conjunction with the bacterial activator NodD protein. Then, in the second step, lipooligosaccharide Nod factors with various host-specific structural modifications are produced by the bacterial Nod proteins. The Nod factors induce various plant reactions, such as root hair deformation, initiation of nodule meristems, and induction of early nodulin genes, leading to nodule formation. Other classes of bacterial genes are required for successful infection and for nitrogen fixation. This chapter includes only the early events of communication between rhizobia and their host plants, that is, the perception of flavonoid signals by the bacteria, the production of Nod signals by rhizobia, and the early plant responses to the bacteria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology