Peter Mergaert

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Symbiosis between legumes and Rhizobium bacteria leads to the formation of root nodules where bacteria in the infected plant cells are converted into nitrogen-fixing bacteroids. Nodules with a persistent meristem are indeterminate, whereas nodules without meristem are determinate. The symbiotic plant cells in both nodule types are polyploid because of(More)
Transcriptome analysis of Medicago truncatula nodules has led to the discovery of a gene family named NCR (nodule-specific cysteine rich) with more than 300 members. The encoded polypeptides were short (60-90 amino acids), carried a conserved signal peptide, and, except for a conserved cysteine motif, displayed otherwise extensive sequence divergence.(More)
Rhizobia reside as symbiosomes in the infected cells of legume nodules to fix atmospheric nitrogen. The symbiotic relation is strictly controlled, lasts for some time, but eventually leads to nodule senescence. We present a comprehensive transcriptomics study to understand the onset of nodule senescence in the legume Medicago truncatula. Distinct(More)
Deciphering the mechanisms leading to symbiotic nitrogen-fixing root nodule organogenesis in legumes resulted in the identification of numerous nodule-specific genes and gene families. Among them, NCR and GRP genes encode short secreted peptides with potential antimicrobial activity. These genes appear to form large multigenic families in Medicago(More)
BACKGROUND The CDC20 and Cdh1/CCS52 proteins are substrate determinants and activators of the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) E3 ubiquitin ligase and as such they control the mitotic cell cycle by targeting the degradation of various cell cycle regulators. In yeasts and animals the main CDC20 function is the destruction of securin and mitotic(More)
Sinorhizobium meliloti differentiates into persisting, nitrogen-fixing bacteroids within root nodules of the legume Medicago truncatula. Nodule-specific cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides (NCR AMPs) and the bacterial BacA protein are essential for bacteroid development. However, the bacterial factors central to the NCR AMP response and the in planta role(More)
In Medicago nodules, endoreduplication cycles and ploidy-dependent cell enlargement occur during the differentiation of bacteroid-containing nitrogen-fixing symbiotic cells. These events are accompanied by the expression of ccs52A, a plant ortholog of the yeast and animal cdh1/srw1/fzr genes, acting as a substrate-specific activator of the(More)
Legume plants host nitrogen-fixing endosymbiotic Rhizobium bacteria in root nodules. In Medicago truncatula, the bacteria undergo an irreversible (terminal) differentiation mediated by hitherto unidentified plant factors. We demonstrated that these factors are nodule-specific cysteine-rich (NCR) peptides that are targeted to the bacteria and enter the(More)
The legume plant Medicago truncatula establishes a symbiosis with the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti which takes place in root nodules. The formation of nodules employs a complex developmental program involving organogenesis, specific cellular differentiation of the host cells and the endosymbiotic bacteria, called bacteroids, as well as(More)
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are ribosomally synthesized natural antibiotics that are crucial effectors of innate immune systems in all living organisms. AMPs are diverse peptides, differing in their amino acid composition and structure, that generally display rapid killing and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities. Therefore, AMPs have high potential(More)