The role of shoot–root signals in the control of nodulation and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) development were examined in the divergent legume species pea and blue lupin. These species were chosen as pea can host both symbionts, whereas lupin can nodulate but has lost the ability to form AM.
Intergeneric grafts between lupin and pea enabled examination of key long-distance signals in these symbioses. The role of strigolactones, auxin and elements of the autoregulation of nodulation (AON) pathway were investigated. Grafting studies were combined with loss-of-function mutants to monitor symbioses (nodulation, AM) and hormone effects (levels, gene expression and application studies).
Lupin shoots suppress AM colonization in pea roots, in part by downregulating strigolactone exudation involving reduced expression of the strigolactone biosynthesis gene PsCCD8. By contrast, lupin shoots enhance pea nodulation, independently of strigolactones, possibly due to a partial incompatibility in AON shoot–root signalling between pea and lupin.
This study highlights that nodulation and AM symbioses can be regulated independently and this may be due to long-distance signals, a phenomenon we were able to uncover by working with divergent legumes. We also identify a role for strigolactone exudation in determining the status of non-AM hosts.
strigolactone, nodulation, mycorrhiza, autoregulation of nodulation, lupin, pea, grafting, auxin