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A peptide transporter participates in nodule metal homeostasis

The massive use of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture is responsible of feeding half of the world population. However, they are an important source of greenhouse gasses, one of the main expenses for farmers (unreacheable in many developing countries), and contribute to water eutrophyzation. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) carried out by the rhizobia-legume interaction is one of the main alternatives to the overuse of these fertilizers, in a return to more sustainable practices of crop rotation with legumes. This process requires of relatively large amount of transition metals (iron, copper, zinc,…) that work as cofactors of many of the main enzymes participating in SNF. Given the prevalent low bioavailability of these metals in many of the main agricultural areas of the world, the real impact of crop rotation with legumes in soil nitrogen fertilization will depend in ensuring a continous and suficient delivery of essential transition metals. To improve this, we need to identify and manipulate the molecules mediating the delivery of these nutrients.

The CBGP group “Metal homeostasis in plant-microbe interactions”, in collaboration with researchers from Spain (ICA-CSIC), USA (UMass Amherst, Noble Reseach Institute and WPI), Taiwan (National Taiwan University), and Australia (La Trobe University) have shown how Medicago truncatula MtYSL7 protein participates in nitrogen fixation. MtYSL7 is a peptide transporter located in the plasma membrane of root pericycle cells and nodule cortex cells. Mutation of this gene causes a reduction on plant growth, of nitrogen fixation rates, as well as an increase in iron and copper content in nodules. Loss of MtYSL/ function induces the expression of genes involved in plant iron uptake, suggesting a role in the regulation of plant metal homeostasis.


Original Paper:

Castro-Rodríguez, R., Escudero, V., Reguera, M., Gil-Díez, P., Quintana, J., Prieto, R.I., Kumar, R.K., Brear, E., Grillet, L., Wen, J., Mysore, K.S., Walker, E.L., Smith, P.M.C., Imperial, J., González-Guerrero, M. 2021. Medicago truncatula Yellow Stripe-Like7 encodes a peptide transporter participating in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Plant, Cell & Environment. DOI: 10.1111/pce.14059

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