Legumes, as protein-rich crops, are widely used for human food, animal feed and vegetable oil production. Over the past decade, two legume species, Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus, have been adopted as model legumes for genomics and physiological studies. The tobacco transposable element, Tnt1, is a powerful tool for insertional mutagenesis and gene inactivation in plants. A large collection of Tnt1-tagged lines of M. truncatula cv. Jemalong was generated during the course of the project ‘GLIP’: Grain Legumes Integrated Project, funded by the European Union (www.eugrainlegumes.org). In the project ‘IFCOSMO’: Integrated Functional and COmparative genomics Studies on the MOdel Legumes Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus, supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, Bulgaria, these lines are used for development of functional genomics platform of legumes in Bulgaria. This review presents recent advances in the evaluation of the M. truncatula Tnt1 mutant collection and outlines the steps that are taken in using the Tnt1-tagging for generation of a mutant collection of the second model legume L. japonicus. Both collections will provide a number of legume-specific mutants and serve as a resource for functional and comparative genomics research on legumes. Genomics technologies are expected to advance genetics and breeding of important legume crops (pea, faba bean, alfalfa and clover) in Bulgaria and worldwide.
Insertional mutagenesis; legume genomics; Medicago truncatula; Lotus japonicus; phenotyping; Tnt1 mutants.
The Medicago Genome Initiative (MGI) is a database of EST sequences
of the model legume Medicago truncatula. The database
is available to the public and has resulted from a collaborative
research effort between the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and
the National Center for Genome Resources to investigate the genome
of M.truncatula. MGI is part of the greater integrated Medicago functional genomics program at the Noble
.org), which is taking a global approach in studying the
genetic and biochemical events associated with the growth, development
and environmental interactions of this model legume. Our approach
will include: large-scale EST sequencing, gene expression profiling,
the generation of M.truncatula activation-tagged
and promoter trap insertion mutants, high-throughput metabolic profiling,
and proteome studies. These multidisciplinary information pools
will be interfaced with one another to provide scientists with an
integrated, holistic set of tools to address fundamental questions pertaining
to legume biology. The public interface to the MGI database can
be accessed at http://www.ncgr.org/research/mgi.
Legumes (Leguminosae or Fabaceae) play a major role in agriculture. Transcriptomics studies in the model legume species, Medicago truncatula, are instrumental in helping to formulate hypotheses about the role of legume genes. With the rapid growth of publically available Affymetrix GeneChip Medicago Genome Array GeneChip data from a great range of tissues, cell types, growth conditions, and stress treatments, the legume research community desires an effective bioinformatics system to aid efforts to interpret the Medicago genome through functional genomics. We developed the Medicago truncatula Gene Expression Atlas (MtGEA) web server for this purpose.
The Medicago truncatula Gene Expression Atlas (MtGEA) web server is a centralized platform for analyzing the Medicago transcriptome. Currently, the web server hosts gene expression data from 156 Affymetrix GeneChip® Medicago genome arrays in 64 different experiments, covering a broad range of developmental and environmental conditions. The server enables flexible, multifaceted analyses of transcript data and provides a range of additional information about genes, including different types of annotation and links to the genome sequence, which help users formulate hypotheses about gene function. Transcript data can be accessed using Affymetrix probe identification number, DNA sequence, gene name, functional description in natural language, GO and KEGG annotation terms, and InterPro domain number. Transcripts can also be discovered through co-expression or differential expression analysis. Flexible tools to select a subset of experiments and to visualize and compare expression profiles of multiple genes have been implemented. Data can be downloaded, in part or full, in a tabular form compatible with common analytical and visualization software. The web server will be updated on a regular basis to incorporate new gene expression data and genome annotation, and is accessible at: http://bioinfo.noble.org/gene-atlas/.
The MtGEA web server has a well managed rich data set, and offers data retrieval and analysis tools provided in the web platform. It's proven to be a powerful resource for plant biologists to effectively and efficiently identify Medicago transcripts of interest from a multitude of aspects, formulate hypothesis about gene function, and overall interpret the Medicago genome from a systematic point of view.
Verticillium wilt is a major threat to alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and many other crops. The model legume Medicago truncatula was used as a host for studying resistance and susceptibility to Verticillium albo-atrum. In addition to presenting well-established genetic resources, this wild plant species enables to investigate biodiversity of the response to the pathogen and putative crosstalk between disease and symbiosis. Symptom scoring after root inoculation and modelling of disease curves allowed assessing susceptibility levels in recombinant lines of three crosses between susceptible and resistant lines, in a core collection of 32 lines, and in mutants affected in symbiosis with rhizobia. A GFP-expressing V. albo-atrum strain was used to study colonization of susceptible plants. Symptoms and colonization pattern in infected M. truncatula plants were typical of Verticillium wilt. Three distinct major quantitative trait loci were identified using a multicross, multisite design, suggesting that simple genetic mechanisms appear to control Verticillium wilt resistance in M. truncatula lines A17 and DZA45.5. The disease functional parameters varied largely in lines of the core collection. This biodiversity with regard to disease response encourages the development of association genetics and ecological approaches. Several mutants of the resistant line, impaired in different steps of rhizobial symbiosis, were affected in their response to V. albo-atrum, which suggests that mechanisms involved in the establishment of symbiosis or disease might have some common regulatory control points.
biodiversity; Medicago truncatula; nodulation mutants; partial resistance; quantitative trait loci; root disease; vascular wilt; Verticillium albo-atrum.
Plant diversity in nature is to a large extent reflected by morphological diversity of their leaves. Both simple and dissected (with multiple blades or leaflets) leaves are initiated from shoot apical meristem (SAM) in a highly ordered fashion. Similarly, development of leaflets from leaf marginal meristem (marginal blastozone) is also highly ordered. How morphological diversity of plant leaves is regulated remains an important topic of studies on plant form evolution. Here, we describe isolation and characterization of loss-of-function mutants of auxin efflux transporter MtPIN10 of a legume species, Medicago truncatula. Mtpin10 mutants exhibit defects in diverse developmental processes including leaf and leaflet development. Cross species genetic complementation demonstrates that MtPIN10 and Arabidopsis PIN1 are functional orthologs. Double mutant analyses reveal complex genetic interactions between MtPIN10 and Medicago SINGLE LEAFLET1 (SGL1) and CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON2 (MtCUC2), three regulatory genes involved in developmental processes including dissected leaf and flower development.
auxin; auxin transport; compound leaf development; MtPIN10; SGL1; MtCUC2; Medicago truncatula
The comparative transcriptional analysis of highly syntenic regions in six different organ types between Medicago truncatula (barrel medic) and Glycine max (soybean), using nucleotide tiling microarrays, provides insights into genome organization and transcriptional regulation in these legume plants.
Legumes are the third largest family of flowering plants and are unique among crop species in their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. As a result of recent genome sequencing efforts, legumes are now one of a few plant families with extensive genomic and transcriptomic data available in multiple species. The unprecedented complexity and impending completeness of these data create opportunities for new approaches to discovery.
We report here a transcriptional analysis in six different organ types of syntenic regions totaling approximately 1 Mb between the legume plants barrel medic (Medicago truncatula) and soybean (Glycine max) using oligonucleotide tiling microarrays. This analysis detected transcription of over 80% of the predicted genes in both species. We also identified 499 and 660 transcriptionally active regions from barrel medic and soybean, respectively, over half of which locate outside of the predicted exons. We used the tiling array data to detect differential gene expression in the six examined organ types and found several genes that are preferentially expressed in the nodule. Further investigation revealed that some collinear genes exhibit different expression patterns between the two species.
These results demonstrate the utility of genome tiling microarrays in generating transcriptomic data to complement computational annotation of the newly available legume genome sequences. The tiling microarray data was further used to quantify gene expression levels in multiple organ types of two related legume species. Further development of this method should provide a new approach to comparative genomics aimed at elucidating genome organization and transcriptional regulation.
The root apical meristem of crop and model legume Medicago truncatula is a significantly different stem cell system to that of the widely studied model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. In this study we used the Affymetrix Medicago GeneChip® to compare the transcriptomes of meristem and non-meristematic root to identify root meristem specific candidate genes.
Using mRNA from root meristem and non-meristem we were able to identify 324 and 363 transcripts differentially expressed from the two regions. With bioinformatics tools developed to functionally annotate the Medicago genome array we could identify significant changes in metabolism, signalling and the differentially expression of 55 transcription factors in meristematic and non-meristematic roots.
This is the first comprehensive analysis of M. truncatula root meristem cells using this genome array. This data will facilitate the mapping of regulatory and metabolic networks involved in the open root meristem of M. truncatula and provides candidates for functional analysis.
Medicago truncatula is a model legume whose genome is currently being sequenced by an international consortium. Abiotic stresses such as salt stress limit plant growth and crop productivity, including those of legumes. We anticipate that studies on M. truncatula will shed light on other economically important legumes across the world. Here, we report the development of a database called MtED that contains gene expression profiles of the roots of M. truncatula based on time-course salt stress experiments using the Affymetrix Medicago GeneChip. Our hope is that MtED will provide information to assist in improving abiotic stress resistance in legumes.
The results of our microarray experiment with roots of M. truncatula under 180 mM sodium chloride were deposited in the MtED database. Additionally, sequence and annotation information regarding microarray probe sets were included. MtED provides functional category analysis based on Gene and GeneBins Ontology, and other Web-based tools for querying and retrieving query results, browsing pathways and transcription factor families, showing metabolic maps, and comparing and visualizing expression profiles. Utilities like mapping probe sets to genome of M. truncatula and In-Silico PCR were implemented by BLAT software suite, which were also available through MtED database.
MtED was built in the PHP script language and as a MySQL relational database system on a Linux server. It has an integrated Web interface, which facilitates ready examination and interpretation of the results of microarray experiments. It is intended to help in selecting gene markers to improve abiotic stress resistance in legumes. MtED is available at http://bioinformatics.cau.edu.cn/MtED/.
The legume plant Medicago truncatula establishes a symbiosis with the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti which takes place in root nodules. The formation of nodules employs a complex developmental program involving organogenesis, specific cellular differentiation of the host cells and the endosymbiotic bacteria, called bacteroids, as well as the specific activation of a large number of plant genes. By using a collection of plant and bacterial mutants inducing non-functional, Fix− nodules, we studied the differentiation processes of the symbiotic partners together with the nodule transcriptome, with the aim of unravelling links between cell differentiation and transcriptome activation. Two waves of transcriptional reprogramming involving the repression and the massive induction of hundreds of genes were observed during wild-type nodule formation. The dominant features of this “nodule-specific transcriptome” were the repression of plant defense-related genes, the transient activation of cell cycle and protein synthesis genes at the early stage of nodule development and the activation of the secretory pathway along with a large number of transmembrane and secretory proteins or peptides throughout organogenesis. The fifteen plant and bacterial mutants that were analyzed fell into four major categories. Members of the first category of mutants formed non-functional nodules although they had differentiated nodule cells and bacteroids. This group passed the two transcriptome switch-points similarly to the wild type. The second category, which formed nodules in which the plant cells were differentiated and infected but the bacteroids did not differentiate, passed the first transcriptome switch but not the second one. Nodules in the third category contained infection threads but were devoid of differentiated symbiotic cells and displayed a root-like transcriptome. Nodules in the fourth category were free of bacteria, devoid of differentiated symbiotic cells and also displayed a root-like transcriptome. A correlation thus exists between the differentiation of symbiotic nodule cells and the first wave of nodule specific gene activation and between differentiation of rhizobia to bacteroids and the second transcriptome wave in nodules. The differentiation of symbiotic cells and of bacteroids may therefore constitute signals for the execution of these transcriptome-switches.
The phytohormones cytokinin and auxin are essential for the control of diverse aspects of cell proliferation and differentiation processes in plants. Although both phytohormones have been suggested to play key roles in the regulation of root nodule development, only recently, significant progress has been made in the elucidation of the molecular genetic basis of cytokinin action in the model leguminous species, Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula. Identification and functional analyses of the putative cytokinin receptors LOTUS HISTIDINE KINASE 1 and M. truncatula CYTOKININ RESPONSE 1 have brought a greater understanding of how activation of cytokinin signaling is crucial to the initiation of nodule primordia. Recent studies have also started to shed light on the roles of auxin in the regulation of nodule development. Here, we review the history and recent progress of research into the roles of cytokinin and auxin, and their possible interactions, in nodule development.
auxin; cytokinin; legume; nodulation; root nodule symbiosis
Medicago truncatula has been chosen as a model species for genomic studies. It is closely related to an important legume, alfalfa. Transporters are a large group of membrane-spanning proteins. They deliver essential nutrients, eject waste products, and assist the cell in sensing environmental conditions by forming a complex system of pumps and channels. Although studies have effectively characterized individual M. truncatula transporters in several databases, until now there has been no available systematic database that includes all transporters in M. truncatula.
The M. truncatula transporter database (MTDB) contains comprehensive information on the transporters in M. truncatula. Based on the TransportTP method, we have presented a novel prediction pipeline. A total of 3,665 putative transporters have been annotated based on International Medicago Genome Annotated Group (IMGAG) V3.5 V3 and the M. truncatula Gene Index (MTGI) V10.0 releases and assigned to 162 families according to the transporter classification system. These families were further classified into seven types according to their transport mode and energy coupling mechanism. Extensive annotations referring to each protein were generated, including basic protein function, expressed sequence tag (EST) mapping, genome locus, three-dimensional template prediction, transmembrane segment, and domain annotation. A chromosome distribution map and text-based Basic Local Alignment Search Tools were also created. In addition, we have provided a way to explore the expression of putative M. truncatula transporter genes under stress treatments.
In summary, the MTDB enables the exploration and comparative analysis of putative transporters in M. truncatula. A user-friendly web interface and regular updates make MTDB valuable to researchers in related fields. The MTDB is freely available now to all users at http://bioinformatics.cau.edu.cn/MtTransporter/.
Legumes (Fabaceae or Leguminosae) are unique among cultivated plants for their ability to carry out endosymbiotic nitrogen fixation with rhizobial bacteria, a process that takes place in a specialized structure known as the nodule. Legumes belong to one of the two main groups of eurosids, the Fabidae, which includes most species capable of endosymbiotic nitrogen fixation 1. Legumes comprise several evolutionary lineages derived from a common ancestor 60 million years ago (Mya). Papilionoids are the largest clade, dating nearly to the origin of legumes and containing most cultivated species 2. Medicago truncatula (Mt) is a long-established model for the study of legume biology. Here we describe the draft sequence of the Mt euchromatin based on a recently completed BAC-assembly supplemented with Illumina-shotgun sequence, together capturing ~94% of all Mt genes. A whole-genome duplication (WGD) approximately 58 Mya played a major role in shaping the Mt genome and thereby contributed to the evolution of endosymbiotic nitrogen fixation. Subsequent to the WGD, the Mt genome experienced higher levels of rearrangement than two other sequenced legumes, Glycine max (Gm) and Lotus japonicus (Lj). Mt is a close relative of alfalfa (M. sativa), a widely cultivated crop with limited genomics tools and complex autotetraploid genetics. As such, the Mt genome sequence provides significant opportunities to expand alfalfa’s genomic toolbox.
Legume rotation has allowed a consistent increase in crop yield and consequently in human population since the antiquity. Legumes will also be instrumental in our ability to maintain the sustainability of our agriculture while facing the challenges of increasing food and biofuel demand. Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus have emerged during the last decade as two major model systems for legume biology. Initially developed to dissect plant-microbe symbiotic interactions and especially legume nodulation, these two models are now widely used in a variety of biological fields from plant physiology and development to population genetics and structural genomics. This review highlights the genetic and genomic tools available to the M. truncatula community. Comparative genomic approaches to transfer biological information between model systems and legume crops are also discussed.
Small GTP-binding genes play an essential regulatory role in a multitude of cellular processes such as vesicle-mediated intracellular trafficking, signal transduction, cytoskeletal organization, and cell division in plants and animals. Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus are important model plants for studying legume-specific biological processes such as nodulation. The publicly available online resources for these plants from websites such as http://www.ncbi.nih.gov, http://www.medicago.org, http://www.tigr.org, and related sites were searched to collect nucleotide sequences that encode GTP-binding protein homologues. A total of 460 small GTPase sequences from several legume species including Medicago and Lotus, Arabidopsis, human, and yeast were phyletically analysed to shed light on the evolution and functional characteristics of legume-specific homologues. One of the main emphases of this study was the elucidation of the possible involvement of some members of small GTPase homologues in the establishment and maintenance of symbiotic associations in root nodules of legumes. A high frequency of vesicle-mediated trafficking in nodules led to the idea of a probable subfunctionalization of some members of this family in legumes. As a result of the analyses, a group of 10 small GTPases that are likely to be mainly expressed in nodules was determined. The sequences determined as a result of this study could be used in more detailed molecular genetic analyses such as creation of RNA inteference silencing mutants for further clarification of the role of GTPases in nodulation. This study will also assist in furthering our understanding of the evolutionary history of small GTPases in legume species.
Arabidopsis thaliana; ARF; Lotus japonicus; Medicago truncatula; nodulation; phylogenetic; RAB; RAC; ROP; small GTPases
Small GTP-binding genes act as molecular switches regulating myriad of cellular processes including vesicle-mediated intracellular trafficking, signal transduction, cytoskeletal reorganization and cell division in plants and animals. Even though these genes are well conserved both functionally and sequentially across whole Eukaryotae, occasional lineage-specific diversification in some plant species in terms of both functional and expressional characteristics have been reported. Hence, comparative phyletic and correlative functional analyses of legume small GTPases homologs with the genes from other Metazoa and Embryophyta species would be very beneficial for gleaning out the small GTPases that could have specialized in legume-specific processes; e.g., nodulation. The completion of genome sequences of two model legumes, Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus will significantly improve our knowledge about mechanism of biological processes taking place in legume-rhizobia symbiotic associations. Besides, the need for molecular switches coordinating busy cargo-trafficking between symbiosis partners would suggest a possible subfunctionalization of small GTPases in Fabaceae for these functions. Therefore, more detailed investigation into the functional characteristics of legume small GTPases would be helpful for the illumination of the events initialized with the perception of bacteria by host, followed by the formation of infection thread and the engulfment of rhizobial bacteria, and end with the senescence of nitrogen-fixing organelles, nodules. In summary, a more thorough functional and evolutionary characterization of small GTPases across the main lineages of Embryophyta is significant for better comprehension of evolutionary history of Plantae, that is because, these genes are associated with multitude of vital biological processes including organogenesis.
small GTPases; Medicago truncatula; nodulation; symbiosis; embryophyta
The Oomycete genus Aphanomyces comprises devastating plant and animal pathogens. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenicity of Aphanomyces species. In this study, we report on the development of a public database called AphanoDB which is dedicated to Aphanomyces genomic data. As a first step, a large collection of Expressed Sequence Tags was obtained from the legume pathogen A. euteiches, which was then processed and collected into AphanoDB.
Two cDNA libraries of A. euteiches were created: one from mycelium growing on synthetic medium and one from mycelium grown in contact to root tissues of the model legume Medicago truncatula. From these libraries, 18,684 expressed sequence tags were obtained and assembled into 7,977 unigenes which were compared to public databases for annotation. Queries on AphanoDB allow the users to retrieve information for each unigene including similarity to known protein sequences, protein domains and Gene Ontology classification. Statistical analysis of EST frequency from the two different growth conditions was also added to the database.
AphanoDB is a public database with a user-friendly web interface. The sequence report pages are the main web interface which provides all annotation details for each unigene. These interactive sequence report pages are easily available through text, BLAST, Gene Ontology and expression profile search utilities. AphanoDB is available from URL: .
Background and Aims
Germination and heterotrophic growth are crucial steps for stand establishment. Numerical experiments based on the modelling of these early stages in relation to major environmental factors at sowing were used as a powerful tool to browse the effects of the genetic diversity of Medicago truncatula, one of the model legume species, under a range of agronomic scenarios, and to highlight the most important plant parameters for emergence. To this end, the emergence of several genotypes of M. truncatula was simulated under a range of sowing conditions with a germination and emergence simulation model.
After testing the predictive quality of the model by comparing simulations to field observations of several genotypes of M. truncatula, numerical experiments were performed under a wide range of environmental conditions (sowing dates × years × seedbed structure). Germination and emergence was simulated for a set of five genotypes previously parameterized and for two virtual genotypes engineered to maximize the potential effects of genetic diversity.
The simulation results gave an average value of 5–10 % difference in final emergence between genotypes, which was low, but the analysis underlined considerable inter-annual variation. The effects of parameters describing germination and emergence processes were quantified and ranked according to their contribution to the variation in emergence. Seedling non-emergence was mainly related to mechanical obstacles (40–50 %). More generally, plant parameters that accelerated the emergence time course significantly contributed to limiting the risk of soil surface crusting occurring before seedling emergence.
The model-assisted analysis of the effects of genetic diversity demonstrated its usefulness in helping to identify the parameters which have most influence that could be improved by breeding programmes. These results should also enable a deeper analysis of the genetic determinism of the main plant parameters influencing emergence, using the genomic tools available for this model plant.
Germination; emergence; modeling; numerical experiments; ideotypes; Medicago truncatula
Legumes play a vital role in maintaining the nitrogen cycle of the biosphere. They conduct symbiotic nitrogen fixation through endosymbiotic relationships with bacteria in root nodules. However, this and other characteristics of legumes, including mycorrhization, compound leaf development and profuse secondary metabolism, are absent in the typical model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We present LegumeIP (http://plantgrn.noble.org/LegumeIP/), an integrative database for comparative genomics and transcriptomics of model legumes, for studying gene function and genome evolution in legumes. LegumeIP compiles gene and gene family information, syntenic and phylogenetic context and tissue-specific transcriptomic profiles. The database holds the genomic sequences of three model legumes, Medicago truncatula, Glycine max and Lotus japonicus plus two reference plant species, A. thaliana and Populus trichocarpa, with annotations based on UniProt, InterProScan, Gene Ontology and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes databases. LegumeIP also contains large-scale microarray and RNA-Seq-based gene expression data. Our new database is capable of systematic synteny analysis across M. truncatula, G. max, L. japonicas and A. thaliana, as well as construction and phylogenetic analysis of gene families across the five hosted species. Finally, LegumeIP provides comprehensive search and visualization tools that enable flexible queries based on gene annotation, gene family, synteny and relative gene expression.
Exploiting genetic diversity requires previous knowledge of the extent and structure of the variation occurring in a species. Such knowledge can in turn be used to build a core-collection, i.e. a subset of accessions that aim at representing the genetic diversity of this species with a minimum of repetitiveness. We investigate the patterns of genetic diversity and population structure in a collection of 346 inbred lines representing the breadth of naturally occurring diversity in the Legume plant model Medicago truncatula using 13 microsatellite loci distributed throughout the genome.
We confirm the uniqueness of all these genotypes and reveal a large amount of genetic diversity and allelic variation within this autogamous species. Spatial genetic correlation was found only for individuals originating from the same population and between neighbouring populations. Using a model-based clustering algorithm, we identified four main genetic clusters in the set of individuals analyzed. This stratification matches broad geographic regions. We also identified a set of "admixed" individuals that do not fit with this population structure scheme.
The stratification inferred is discussed considering potential historical events like expansion, refuge history and admixture between neighbouring groups. Information on the allelic richness and the inferred population structure are used to build a nested core-collection. The set of inbred lines and the core collections are publicly available and will help coordinating efforts for the study of naturally occurring variation in the growing Medicago truncatula community.
Tnt1 (transposable element if Nicotiana tabaccum cell type 1) is one of the very few active LTR retrotransposons used for gene tagging in plants. In the model legume Medicago truncatula, Tnt1 has been effectively used as a gene knock-out tool to generate several very useful mutants. stenofolia (stf) is such a mutant identified by Tnt1 insertion in a WUSCHEL-like homeobox transcription factor. STF is required for blade outgrowth, leaf vascular patterning and female reproductive organ development in barrel medic and woodland tobacco. Using transcript profiling and metabolite analysis, we uncovered that mutant leaves are compromised in steady-state levels of multiple phytohormones, sugar metabolites and derivatives including flavonoids and polyamines. In the lam1 mutant (caused by deletion of the STF ortholog in Nicotiana sylvestris), while glucose, fructose, mannose, galactose, myo-inositol and aromatic aminoacids are dramatically reduced, sucrose is comparable to wild-type levels, and glutamine, proline, putrescine, nicotine and sorbitol are highly increased. We demonstrated that both stf and lam1 mutants accumulate reduced levels of free auxin and ABA in their leaves, and ectopic expression of STF in tobacco leads to auxin and cytokinin overproduction phenotypes including formation of tumors on the roots and crown. These data suggest that STF mediated integration of metabolic and hormonal signals are required for lateral organ morphogenesis and elaboration.
cell division; homeostasis; lam1; leaf development; Medicago truncatula; metabolic sugars; phytohormones; signal integration; STF; Tnt1
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.
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.
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.
The Legume Information System (LIS) (http://www.comparative-legumes.org), developed by the National Center for Genome Resources in cooperation with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is a comparative legume resource that integrates genetic and molecular data from multiple legume species enabling cross-species genomic and transcript comparisons. The LIS virtual plant interface allows simplified and intuitive navigation of transcript data from Medicago truncatula, Lotus japonicus, Glycine max and Arabidopsis thaliana. Transcript libraries are represented as images of plant organs in different developmental stages, which are selected to query the analyzed and annotated data. Complex queries can be accomplished by adding modifiers, keywords and sequence names. The LIS also contains annotated genomic data featuring transcript alignments to validate gene predictions as well as motif and similarity analyses. The genomic browser supports comparative analysis via novel dynamic functional annotation comparisons. CMap, developed as part of the GMOD project (http://www.gmod.org/cmap/index.shtml), has been incorporated to support comparative analyses of community linkage and physical map data. LIS is being expanded to incorporate gene expression and biochemical pathways which will be seamlessly integrated forming a knowledge discovery framework.
The plant plasma membrane-localized NADPH oxidases, known as respiratory burst oxidase homologues (RBOHs), appear to play crucial roles in plant growth and development. They are involved in important processes, such as root hair growth, plant defence reactions and abscisic acid signalling.Using sequence similarity searches, we identified seven putative RBOH-encoding genes in the Medicago truncatula genome. A phylogenetic reconstruction showed that Rboh gene duplications occurred in legume species. We analysed the expression of these MtRboh genes in different M. truncatula tissues: one of them, MtRbohA, was significantly up-regulated in Sinorhizobium meliloti-induced symbiotic nodules.MtRbohA expression appeared to be restricted to the nitrogen-fixing zone of the functional nodule. Moreover, using S. meliloti bacA and nifH mutants unable to form efficient nodules, a strong link between nodule nitrogen fixation and MtRbohA up-regulation was shown. MtRbohA expression was largely enhanced under hypoxic conditions. Specific RNA interference for MtRbohA provoked a decrease in the nodule nitrogen fixation activity and the modulation of genes encoding the microsymbiont nitrogenase.These results suggest that hypoxia, prevailing in the nodule-fixing zone, may drive the stimulation of MtRbohA expression, which would, in turn, lead to the regulation of nodule functioning.
hypoxia; Medicago truncatula–Sinorhizobium meliloti symbiosis; NADPH oxidase; nitrogen fixation; nitrogenase; nodule; reactive oxygen species; respiratory burst oxidase homologue
We studied patterns of molecular adaptation in the wild Mediterranean legume Medicago truncatula. We focused on two phenotypic traits that are not functionally linked: flowering time and perception of symbiotic microbes. Phenology is an important fitness component, especially for annual plants, and many instances of molecular adaptation have been reported for genes involved in flowering pathways. While perception of symbiotic microbes is also integral to adaptation in many plant species, very few reports of molecular adaptation exist for symbiotic genes. Here we used data from 57 individuals and 53 gene fragments to quantify the overall strength of both positive and purifying selection in M. truncatula and asked if footprints of positive selection can be detected at key genes of rhizobia recognition pathways.
We examined nucleotide variation among 57 accessions from natural populations in 53 gene fragments: 5 genes involved in nitrogen-fixing bacteria recognition, 11 genes involved in flowering, and 37 genes used as control loci. We detected 1757 polymorphic sites yielding an average nucleotide diversity (pi) of 0.003 per site. Non-synonymous variation is under sizable purifying selection with 90% of amino-acid changing mutations being strongly selected against. Accessions were structured in two groups consistent with geographical origins. Each of these two groups harboured an excess of rare alleles, relative to expectations of a constant-sized population, suggesting recent population expansion. Using coalescent simulations and an approximate Bayesian computation framework we detected several instances of genes departing from selective neutrality within each group and showed that the polymorphism of two nodulation and four flowering genes has probably been shaped by recent positive selection.
We quantify the intensity of purifying selection in the M. truncatula genome and show that putative footprints of natural selection can be detected at different time scales in both flowering and symbiotic pathways.
• Background Annual Medicago spp., including M. truncatula, play an important agronomic role in dryland farming regions of the world where they are often an integral component of cropping systems, particularly in regions with a Mediterranean or Mediterranean-type climate where they grow as winter annuals that provide both nitrogen and disease breaks for rotational crops. Necrotrophic foliar and soil-borne pathogens dominate these regions and challenge the productivity of annual Medicago and crop legume species.
• Scope This review outlines some of the major and/or widespread diseases these necrotrophic pathogens cause on Medicago spp. It then explores the potential for using the spectrum of necrotrophic pathogen–host interactions, with annual Medicago as the host plant, to better understand and model pathosystems within the diseases caused by nectrotrophic pathogens across forage and grain legume crops.
• Conclusions Host resistance clearly offers the best strategy for cost-effective, long-term control of necrotrophic foliar and soil-borne pathogens, particularly as useful resistance to a number of these diseases has been identified. Recently and initially, the annual M. truncatula has emerged as a more appropriate and agronomically relevant substitute to Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant for legumes, and is proving an excellent model to understand the mechanisms of resistance both to individual pathogens and more generally to most forage and grain legume necrotrophic pathogens.
Fungal pathogens; medics; annual Medicago species; Medicago truncatula; Phoma medicaginis; Aphanomyces euteiches; Colletotrichum trifolii; Mycosphaerella pinodes; grain legumes