Journal Article

<i>Lotus japonicus</i>: A New Model to Study Root-Parasitic Nematodes

Dasharath Prasad Lohar and David McK. Bird

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 44, issue 11, pages 1176-1184
Published in print November 2003 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online November 2003 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Lotus japonicus: A New Model to Study Root-Parasitic Nematodes

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Sedentary plant-parasitic nematodes engage in complex interactions, and induce specialized feeding structures by redirecting plant developmental pathways, and parallels have been observed with rhizobial nodule development on legumes. A model legume would greatly facilitate a better understanding of the differences between parasitic (nematode) and mutualistic (rhizobia and mycorrhizae) symbioses, and we have developed Lotus japonicus as such a model. Conditions for efficient parasitism by root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) of the widely used Lotus “Gifu” ecotype were established. Features of Lotus biology, such as thin and translucent roots, proved ideal for monitoring the progress of nematode infection both on live specimens and post-staining. We examined L. japonicus mutants with nodulation phenotypes. One, har1, which is a hypernodulated mutant defective in a CLAVATA1-like receptor kinase gene, was found to be hyperinfected by M. incognita. However, another hypernodulated Lotus mutant exhibited the same level of M. incognita infection as wild-type plants. We also established conditions for infection of Lotus by soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines). In contrast to the response to root-knot nematode, the Gifu ecotype is resistant to H. glycines, and elicits a hypersensitive response. This pattern of resistance recapitulates that seen on nematode-resistant soybean plants. We conclude that L. japonicus is a powerful model legume for studying compatible and incompatible plant–nematode interactions.

Keywords: Keywords: CLAVATA1-like receptor kinase — har1 — Heterodera glycines — Hypersensitive response — Lotus japonicus — Meloidogyne spp.; Abbreviations: HR, hypersensitive response; L2, second stage nematode larvae; RKN, root-knot nematode; SCN, soybean cyst nematode.

Journal Article.  6767 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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