LysM domain receptor kinases regulating rhizobial Nod factor-induced infection

Limpens, E.H.M.; Franken, C.L.; Smit, P.E.J.; Willemse, J.J.; Bisseling, T.; Geurts, R.


The rhizobial infection of legumes has the most stringent demand toward Nod factor structure of all host responses, and therefore a specific Nod factor entry receptor has been proposed. The SYM2 gene identfied in certain ecotypes of pea (Pisum sativum) is a good candidate for such an entry receptor. We exploited the close phylogenetic relationship of pea and the model legume Medicago truncatula to identify genes specifically involved in rhizobial infection. The SYM2 orthologous region of M. truncatula contains 15 putative receptor-like genes, of which 7 are LysM domain-containing receptor-like kinases (LYKs). Using reverse genetics in M. truncatula, we show that two LYK genes are specifically involved in infection thread formation. This, as well as the properties of the LysM domains, strongly suggests that they are Nod factor entry receptors.