Rhizobial communication with rice roots: Induction of phenotypic changes, mode of invasion and extent of colonization uri icon

abstract

  • Legume-rhizobial interactions culminate in the formation of structures known as nodules. In this specialized niche, rhizobia are insulated from microbial competition and fix nitrogen which becomes directly available to the legume plant. It has been a long-standing goal in the field of biological nitrogen fixation to extend the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis to non-nodulated cereal plants, such as rice. To achieve this goal, extensive knowledge of the legume-rhizobia symbioses should help in formulating strategies for developing potential rice-rhizobia symbioses or endophytic interactions. As a first step to assess opportunities for developing a rice-rhizobia symbiosis, we evaluated certain aspects of rice-rhizobia associations to determine the extent of predisposition of rice roots for forming an intimate association with rhizobia. Our studies indicate that: a. Rice root exudates do not activate the expression of nodulation genes such as nodY of Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110, nodA of R. leguminosarum by. trifolii, or nodSU of Rhizobium. sp. NGR234; b. Neither viable wild-type rhizobia, nor purified chitolipooligosaccharide (CLOS) Nod factors elicit root hair deformation or true nodule formation in rice; c. Rhizobia-produced indole-3-acetic acid, but neither trans-zeatin nor CLOS Nod factors, seem to promote the formation of thick, short lateral roots in rice; d. Rhizobia develop neither the symbiont-specific pattern of root hair attachment nor extensive cellulose microfibril production on the rice root epidermis; e. A primary mode of rhizobial invasion of rice roots is through cracks in the epidermis and fissures created during emergence of lateral roots; f. This infection process is nod-gene independent, nonspecific, and does not involve the formation of infection threads; g. Endophytic colonization observed so far is restricted to intercellular spaces or within host cells undergoing lysis. h. The cortical sclerenchymatous layer containing tightly packed, thick wailed fibers appears to be a significant barrier that restricts rhizobial invasion into deeper layers of the root cortex. Therefore, we conclude that the molecular and cell biology of the Rhizobium-rice association differs in many respects from the biology underlying the development of root nodules in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis.

publication date

  • 1997
  • 1997