Type III effector provides a novel symbiotic pathway in legume-rhizobia symbiosis

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2022 Dec 21;87(1):28-37. doi: 10.1093/bbb/zbac178.


Rhizobia form nodules on the roots of legumes and fix atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, thus supplying it to host legumes. In return, plants supply photosynthetic products to maintain rhizobial activities. In most cases, rhizobial Nod factors (NFs) and their leguminous receptors (NFRs) are essential for the establishment of symbiosis. However, recent studies have discovered a novel symbiotic pathway in which rhizobia utilize the type III effectors (T3Es) similar to the pathogenic bacteria to induce nodulation. The T3Es of rhizobia are thought to be evolved from the pathogen, but they have a unique structure distinct from the pathogen, suggesting that it might be customized for symbiotic purposes. This review will focus on the recent findings from the study of rhizobial T3Es, discussing their features on a symbiont and pathogen, and the future perspectives on the role of rhizobial T3Es in symbiosis control technology.

Keywords: effectors; leguminous; rhizobia; symbiosis; type III secretion system (T3SS).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fabaceae* / metabolism
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Rhizobium* / metabolism
  • Symbiosis
  • Vegetables