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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reprogramming sphingolipid glycosylation is required for endosymbiont persistence in Medicago truncatula.

  • Author(s): Moore, William M
  • Chan, Candace
  • Ishikawa, Toshiki
  • Rennie, Emilie A
  • Wipf, Heidi M-L
  • Benites, Veronica
  • Kawai-Yamada, Maki
  • Mortimer, Jenny C
  • Scheller, Henrik V
  • et al.

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Plant endosymbiosis relies on the development of specialized membranes that encapsulate the endosymbiont and facilitate nutrient exchange. However, the identity and function of lipids within these membrane interfaces is largely unknown. Here, we identify GLUCOSAMINE INOSITOL PHOSPHORYLCERAMIDE TRANSFERASE1 (GINT1) as a sphingolipid glycosyltransferase highly expressed in Medicago truncatula root nodules and roots colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and further demonstrate that this enzyme functions in the synthesis of N-acetyl-glucosamine-decorated glycosyl inositol phosphoryl ceramides (GIPCs) in planta. MtGINT1 expression was developmentally regulated in symbiotic tissues associated with the development of symbiosome and periarbuscular membranes. RNAi silencing of MtGINT1 did not affect overall root growth but strongly impaired nodulation and AM symbiosis, resulting in the senescence of symbiosomes and arbuscules. Our results indicate that, although M. truncatula root sphingolipidome predominantly consists of hexose-decorated GIPCs, local reprogramming of GIPC glycosylation by MtGINT1 is required for the persistence of endosymbionts within the plant cell.

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