, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 403-417

Phaseolus ENOD40 is involved in symbiotic and non-symbiotic organogenetic processes: expression during nodule and lateral root development

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ENOD40 is an early nodulin gene, recently isolated from legume species forming nodules either after Rhizobium infection or spontaneously. ENOD40 cDNAs from Phaseolus plants were isolated and nucleotide sequence determination revealed a 85% and 88.5% homology with the reported soybean cDNA clones. The putative polypeptide deduced coincides with the soybean one but a stop codon, almost in the middle of the respective ORF, renders it much shorter. This polypeptide was overexpressed as a fusion protein in Escherichia coli. Although the spatial expression pattern of the gene in the root pericycle and nodule primordium at early stages of development as well as in the pericycle of the vascular bundles and uninfected cells in mature nodules is comparable to the gene's expression pattern in soybean, differences in developmental regulation are evident. We have shown that ENOD40 transcripts are also detected at very early stages of lateral root development, in the dividing pericycle cells of the root stele that give rise to the lateral root primordia. The presence of Rhizobium causes an enhancement of the gene's expression and also induction of the gene in the vascular tissues of developed lateral roots. Interestingly, a discrimination on the gene's expression level in adventious and acropetal incipient lateral root primordia, emerging in infected and uninfected roots, is observed. This indicates that the gene's product may be involved in the hormonal status of the plant and that ENOD40 may be used as a molecular marker in lateral root initiation.