Plant secondary metabolites, particularly flavonoids, are key components in the early stages of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis. Despite their importance, the endogenous secondary metabolites involved in symbiosis have not yet been identified in the model legume Lotus japonicus. We therefore determined changes in the secondary metabolic profile of Lotus japonicus roots in response to its symbiont. Analysis of the root secondary metabolite profiles 1 week after inoculation with Mesorhizobium loti revealed quantitative changes in the level of 14 phenolic peaks when compared with non-inoculated control plants. These changes affected compounds from most phenolic classes, possibly resulting from interconversion between classes since the total phenolic level remained constant. In addition, the use of 2 M. loti strains differing only in their capacity to synthesise Nod factor revealed that, although Nod factor signalling induced accumulation of a specific subset of 4 phenolic peaks, most changes were induced in response to both rhizobial strains.
- Flavonoids, Lotus japonicus, Mesorhizobium loti, Non-nodulating mutants, Nodulation, Nod factor signalling, Secondary metabolites, Symbiosis