A Dihydroflavonol-4-Reductase-Like Protein Interacts with NFR5 and Regulates Rhizobial Infection in Lotus japonicus
Abstract: In almost all symbiotic interactions between rhizobia and leguminous plants, host flavonoid-induced synthesis of Nod factors in rhizobia is required to initiate symbiotic response in plants. In this study, we found that Lotus japonicus Nod factor receptor 5 (LjNFR5) might directly regulate flavonoid biosynthesis during symbiotic interaction with rhizobia. A yeast two-hybrid analysis revealed that a dihydroflavonol-4-reductase-like protein (LjDFL1) interacts with LjNFR5. The interaction between MtDFL1 and MtNFP, two Medicago truncatula proteins with homology to LjDFL1 and LjNFR5, respectively, was also shown, suggesting that interaction between these two proteins might be conserved in different legumes. LjDFL1 was highly expressed in root hairs and epidermal cells of root tips. Lotus ljdfl1 mutants and Medicago mtdfl1 mutants produced significantly fewer infection threads (ITs) than the wild-type control plants following rhizobial treatment. Furthermore, the roots of stable transgenic L. japonicus plants overexpressing LjDFL1 formed more ITs than control roots after exposure to rhizobia. These data indicated that LjDFL1 is a positive regulator of symbiotic signaling. However, the expression of LjDFL1 was suppressed by rhizobial treatment, suggesting that a negative feedback loop might be involved in regulation of the symbiotic response in L. japonicus.