DOI: 10.1111/tpj.16421 ISSN:

Strigolactones repress nodule development and senescence in pea

Judith Van Dingenen, Annick De Keyser, Sandrien Desmet, Alexander Clarysse, Serge Beullens, Jan Michiels, Mélanie Planque, Sofie Goormachtig
  • Cell Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Genetics


Strigolactones are a class of phytohormones that are involved in many different plant developmental processes, including the rhizobium–legume nodule symbiosis. Although both positive and negative effects of strigolactones on the number of nodules have been reported, the influence of strigolactones on nodule development is still unknown. Here, by means of the ramosus (rms) mutants of Pisum sativum (pea) cv Terese, we investigated the impact of strigolactone biosynthesis (rms1 and rms5) and signaling (rms3 and rms4) mutants on nodule growth. The rms mutants had more red, that is, functional, and larger nodules than the wild‐type plants. Additionally, the increased nitrogen fixation and senescence zones with consequently reduced meristematic and infection zones indicated that the rms nodules developed faster than the wild‐type nodules. An enhanced expression of the nodule zone‐specific molecular markers for meristem activity and senescence supported the enlarged, fast maturing nodules. Interestingly, the master nodulation regulator, NODULE INCEPTION, NIN, was strongly induced in nodules of all rms mutants but not prior to inoculation. Determination of sugar levels with both bulk and spatial metabolomics in roots and nodules, respectively, hints at slightly increased malic acid levels early during nodule primordia formation and reduced sugar levels at later stages, possibly the consequence of an increased carbon usage of the enlarged nodules, contributing to the enhanced senescence. Taken together, these results suggest that strigolactones regulate the development of nodules, which is probably mediated through NIN, and available plant sugars.

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