Laloum T, Baudin M, Frances L, Lepage A, Billault-Penneteau B, Cerri MR, Ariel F, Jardinaud MF, Gamas P, de Carvalho-Niebel F, Niebel A
During endosymbiotic interactions between legume plants and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, successful root infection by bacteria and nodule organogenesis requires the perception and transduction of bacterial lipo-chitooligosaccharidic signal called Nod Factor (NF). NF perception in legume roots leads to the activation of an early signaling pathway and of a set of symbiotic genes which is controlled by specific early transcription factors (TFs) including CYCLOPS/IPD3, NSP1, NSP2, ERN1 and NIN. In this study, we bring strong evidence that the Medicago truncatula CCAAT box-binding NF-YA1 TF, previously associated with later stages of rhizobial infection and nodule meristem formation is, together with its closest homolog NF-YA2, also an essential positive regulator of the NF signaling pathway. Here show that NF-YA1 and NF-YA2 are both expressed in epidermal cells responding to NFs and their knock-down by reverse genetic approaches severely affects the NF-induced expression of symbiotic genes and rhizobial infection. Further overexpression, transactivation and ChIP-PCR approaches indicate that NF-YA1 and NF-YA2 function, at least in part, via the direct activation of ERN1. We thus propose a model in which NF-YA1 and NF-YA2 appear as early symbiotic regulators acting downstream of DMI3 and NIN and possibly within the same regulatory complexes as NSP1/2 to directly activate the expression of ERN1. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.