Partner choice in Medicago truncatula-Sinorhizobium symbiosis

Cécile Gubry-Rangin, Marjorie Garcia, Gilles Béna

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70 Citations (Scopus)


In nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, plant sanctions against ineffective bacteria have been demonstrated in previous studies performed on soybean and yellow bush lupin, both developing determinate nodules with Bradyrhizobium sp. strains. In this study, we focused on the widely studied symbiotic association Medicago truncatula-Sinorhizobium meliloti, which forms indeterminate nodules. Using two strains isolated from the same soil and displaying different nitrogen fixation phenotypes on the same fixed plant line, we analysed the existence of both partner choice and plant sanctions by performing split-root experiments. By measuring different parameters such as the nodule number, the nodule biomass per nodule and the number of viable rhizobia per nodule, we showed that M. truncatula is able to select rhizobia based on recognition signals, both before and after the nitrogen fixation step. However, no sanction mechanism, described as a decrease in rhizobia fitness inside the nodules, was detected. Consequently, even if partner choice seems to be widespread among legumes, sanction of non-effective rhizobia might not be universal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1947-1951
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences
Issue number1690
Early online date3 Mar 2010
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2010


  • partner choice
  • sanction
  • symbiosis
  • nitrogen fixation
  • Sinorhizobium meliloti
  • indeterminate nodules


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