The single-cell transcriptome program of nodule development cellular lineages in Medicago truncatula

Cell Rep. 2024 Feb 27;43(2):113747. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2024.113747. Epub 2024 Feb 7.


Legumes establish a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia by developing nodules. Nodules are modified lateral roots that undergo changes in their cellular development in response to bacteria, but the transcriptional reprogramming that occurs in these root cells remains largely uncharacterized. Here, we describe the cell-type-specific transcriptome response of Medicago truncatula roots to rhizobia during early nodule development in the wild-type genotype Jemalong A17, complemented with a hypernodulating mutant (sunn-4) to expand the cell population responding to infection and subsequent biological inferences. The analysis identifies epidermal root hair and stele sub-cell types associated with a symbiotic response to infection and regulation of nodule proliferation. Trajectory inference shows cortex-derived cell lineages differentiating to form the nodule primordia and, posteriorly, its meristem, while modulating the regulation of phytohormone-related genes. Gene regulatory analysis of the cell transcriptomes identifies new regulators of nodulation, including STYLISH 4, for which the function is validated.

Keywords: CP: Plants; Medicago; auxin; cell lineage; cytokinin; nitrogen; nodule; root nodule symbiosis; single cell; symbiosis.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Lineage / genetics
  • Medicago truncatula* / genetics
  • Medicago truncatula* / metabolism
  • Medicago truncatula* / microbiology
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Plant Growth Regulators