Rhizobium-root nodule symbiosis is generally considered to be unique for legumes. However, there is one exception, and that is Parasponia. In this nonlegume, the rhizobial nodule symbiosis evolved independently and is, as in legumes, induced by rhizobium Nod factors. We used Parasponia andersonii to identify genetic constraints underlying evolution of Nod factor signaling. Part of the signaling cascade, downstream of Nod factor perception, has been recruited from the more-ancient arbuscular endomycorrhizal symbiosis. However, legume Nod factor receptors that activate this common signaling pathway are not essential for arbuscular endomycorrhizae. Here, we show that in Parasponia a single Nod factor-like receptor is indispensable for both symbiotic interactions. Therefore, we conclude that the Nod factor perception mechanism also is recruited from the widespread endomycorrhizal symbiosis.
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