The Medicago truncatula PIN2 auxin transporter mediates basipetal auxin transport but is not necessary for nodulation

J Exp Bot. 2020 Feb 19;71(4):1562-1573. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz510.


The development of root nodules leads to an increased auxin response in early nodule primordia, which is mediated by changes in acropetal auxin transport in some legumes. Here, we investigated the role of root basipetal auxin transport during nodulation. Rhizobia inoculation significantly increased basipetal auxin transport in both Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus. In M. truncatula, this increase was dependent on functional Nod factor signalling through NFP, NIN, and NSP2, as well as ethylene signalling through SKL. To test whether increased basipetal auxin transport is required for nodulation, we examined a loss-of-function mutant of the M. truncatula PIN2 gene. The Mtpin2 mutant exhibited a reduction in basipetal auxin transport and an agravitropic phenotype. Inoculation of Mtpin2 roots with rhizobia still led to a moderate increase in basipetal auxin transport, but the mutant nodulated normally. No clear differences in auxin response were observed during nodule development. Interestingly, inoculation of wild-type roots increased lateral root numbers, whereas inoculation of Mtpin2 mutants resulted in reduced lateral root numbers compared with uninoculated roots. We conclude that the MtPIN2 auxin transporter is involved in basipetal auxin transport, that its function is not essential for nodulation, but that it plays an important role in the control of lateral root development.

Keywords: Medicago; Sinorhizobium meliloti; Auxin transport; PIN2; lateral root; lotus; nodule development; rhizobia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Medicago truncatula* / genetics
  • Medicago truncatula* / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins* / genetics
  • Plant Proteins* / metabolism
  • Plant Root Nodulation*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Symbiosis


  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Plant Proteins