Broadening host specificity in soybean-rhizobium symbiosis

  • Kachroo, Aardra (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Nitrogen fixation is an important physiological process. Many legume plants, including soybeans, form symbiotic relationships with bacteria that can fix atmospheric nitrogen. This involves the formation of specialized plant organ termed nodules in the roots. However, such legume-rhizobia associations are highly specific, and most rhizobial strains can only establish symbiotic relationships with specific host plants. Our current work has shown that some genes that regulate soybean defense to pathogenic bacteria also contribute to soybean response to symbiotic bacteria like rhizobia. For example, silencing genes encoding a glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GLY1) or the host defense factor, RAR1 eliminate host-specificity in nodulation. As a result GLY1 or RAR1-silenced soybean plants can be nodulated by rhizobial strains that do not normally nodulate wild type plants. Here, we propose to first generate stable soybean lines silenced for GLY1 using RNAi technology and test their efficacy for improved nodulation in the field. We will also test other known defense-related factors for their possible roles in soybean nodulation. Finally we will test if chemical applications can alter nodulation similar to plant defense. If successful, this project would greatly benefit soybean productivity by improving nitrogen fixation. Our strategy will help lower soybean production costs by reducing the need for expensive fertilizers and benefit the environment by lowering the retention of added chemicals.
Effective start/end date4/1/133/31/14


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