Drought is considered the more harmful abiotic stress resulting in crops yield loss. Legumes in symbiosis with rhizobia are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Biological nitrogen fixation (SNF) is a very sensitive process to drought and limits legumes agricultural productivity. Several factors are known to regulate SNF including oxygen availability to bacteroids, carbon and nitrogen metabolisms; but the signaling pathways leading to SNF inhibition are largely unknown. In this work, we have performed a proteomic approach of pea plants grown in split-root-system where one half of the root was well-irrigated and the other was subjected to drought. Water stress locally provoked nodule water potential decrease that led to SNF local inhibition. The proteomic approach revealed 11 and 7 nodule proteins regulated by drought encoded by P. sativum and R. leguminosarum genomes respectively. Among these 18 proteins, three proteins related to flavonoid metabolism, two to sulphur metabolism and three RNA-binding proteins were identified. These proteins could be molecular targets for future studies focused on the improvement of legumes tolerance to drought. Moreover, this work also provides new hints for the deciphering of SNF regulation machinery in nodules.
Via Jean-Michel Ané