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Lipo-chitooligosaccharides nodulation signals from Rhizobium meliloti induce their rapid degradation by the host plant alfalfa

Staehelin, C., Schultze, M., Kondorosi, E., Kondorosi, A.
Plant physiology 1995 v.108 no.4 pp. 1607-1614
chemical degradation, Medicago sativa, Ensifer meliloti, inactivation, root nodules, hydrolases, pretreatment, mutants, Rhizobium, nodulation, enzyme activity, oligosaccharides, glycoproteins, chitin
Extracellular enzymes from alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) involved in the degradation of nodulation (Nod) factors could be distinguished by their different cleavage specificities and were separated by lectin affinity chromatography. A particular glycoprotein was able to release an acylated lipo-disaccharide from all tested Nod factors having an oligosaccharide chain length of four or five residues. Structural modifications of the basic lipo-chitooligosaccharide did not affect the cleavage site and had only weak influence on the cleavage efficiency of Nod factors tested. The acylated lipotrisaccharide was resistant to degradation. When alfalfa roots were preincubated with Nod factors at nanomolar concentrations, the activity of the dimer-forming enzyme was stimulated up to 6-fold within a few hours. The inducing activity of Nod factors decreased in the order NodRm-IV(C16:2,Ac,S) > NodRm-IV(C16:2,S) and NodRm-V(C16:2,Ac,S) > NodRm-V(C16:2,S) > NodRm-IV(C16:0,S) > NodRm-IV(C16:2). Pretreatment with NodRm-III(C16:2) as well as unmodified chitooligosaccharides did not stimulate the dimer-forming enzyme. Roots preincubated with Rhizobium meliloti showed similar stimulation of the dimer-forming activity. Mutant strains unable to produce Nod factors did not enhance the hydrolytic activity. These results indicate a rapid feedback inactivation of Nod signals after their perception by the host plant alfalfa.