Seven in absentia proteins affect plant growth and nodulation in Medicago truncatula.

Protein ubiquitination is a posttranslational regulatory process essential for plant growth and interaction with the environment. E3 ligases, to which the seven in absentia (SINA) proteins belong, determine the specificity by selecting the target proteins for ubiquitination. SINA proteins are found in animals as well as in plants, and a small gene family with highly related members has been identified in the genome of rice (Oryza sativa), Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), Medicago truncatula, and poplar (Populus trichocarpa). To acquire insight into the function of SINA proteins in nodulation, a dominant negative form of the Arabidopsis SINAT5 was ectopically expressed in the model legume M. truncatula. After rhizobial inoculation of the 35S:SINAT5DN transgenic plants, fewer nodules were formed than in control plants, and most nodules remained small and white, a sign of impaired symbiosis. Defects in rhizobial infection and symbiosome formation were observed by extensive microscopic analysis. Besides the nodulation phenotype, transgenic plants were affected in shoot growth, leaf size, and lateral root number. This work illustrates a function for SINA E3 ligases in a broad spectrum of plant developmental processes, including nodulation.

Den Herder, G., De Keyser, A., De Rycke, R., Rombauts, S., Van De Velde, S., Clemente, MR., Verplancke, C., Mergaert, P., Kondorosi, E., Holsters, M. & Ver, Goormachtig, S. (2008) Seven in absentia proteins affect plant growth and nodulation in Medicago truncatula. Plant Physiol. 148(1):369-82.

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