The negative regulator SMAX1 controls mycorrhizal symbiosis and strigolactone biosynthesis in rice.
Most plants associate with beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi that facilitate soil nutrient acquisition. Prior to contact, partner recognition triggers reciprocal genetic remodelling to enable colonisation. The plant Dwarf14-Like (D14L) receptor conditions pre-symbiotic perception of AM fungi, and also detects the smoke constituent karrikin. D14L-dependent signalling mechanisms, underpinning AM symbiosis are unknown. Here, we present the identification of a negative regulator from rice, which operates downstream of the D14L receptor, corresponding to the homologue of the Arabidopsis thaliana Suppressor of MAX2-1 (AtSMAX1) that functions in karrikin signalling. We demonstrate that rice SMAX1 is a suppressor of AM symbiosis, negatively regulating fungal colonisation and transcription of crucial signalling components and conserved symbiosis genes. Similarly, rice SMAX1 negatively controls strigolactone biosynthesis, demonstrating an unexpected crosstalk between the strigolactone and karrikin signalling pathways. We conclude that removal of SMAX1, resulting from D14L signalling activation, de-represses essential symbiotic programmes and increases strigolactone hormone production.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1172165)