Glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) is a well-known mobile regulator of systemic acquired resistance (SAR), which provides broad spectrum systemic immunity in response to localized foliar pathogenic infections. We show that G3P-derived foliar immunity is also activated in response to genetically-regulated incompatible interactions with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Using gene knock-down we show that G3P is essential for strain-specific exclusion of non-desirable root-nodulating bacteria and the associated foliar pathogen immunity in soybean. Grafting studies show that while recognition of rhizobium incompatibility is root driven, bacterial exclusion requires G3P biosynthesis in the shoot. Biochemical analyses support shoot-to-root transport of G3P during incompatible rhizobia interaction. We describe a root-shoot-root signaling mechanism which simultaneously enables the plant to exclude non-desirable nitrogen-fixing rhizobia in the root and pathogenic microbes in the shoot.

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Published in Nature Communications, v. 10, article no. 5303.

© The Author(s) 2019

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/.

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This work was supported by NSF (IOS #1457121), USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Hatch project 1014539), and Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board grants to A.K. and P.K. and faculty start-up funds by Iowa State University to A.K.S.

Related Content

All data presented here and biological materials used are available upon request to the corresponding author. The source data underlying Figs. 17 and Supplementary Figs. 214 are provided as a Source Data file. Microscopy data is available via Figshare at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.9976829. RNA-seq data are available at the NCBI GEO database under accession code GSE139303.

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Supplementary information

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Peer review file

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Description of additional supplementary files

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Supplementary data 1

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Reporting summary

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Source data