Mesorhizobium sp. J8 can establish symbiosis with glycyrrhiza uralensis, increasing glycyrrhizin production

Ikuko Kusaba, Takahiro Nakao, Hiroko Maita, Shusei Sato, Ryota Chijiiwa, Emi Yamada, Susumu Arima, Mareshige Kojoma, Kanji Ishimaru, Ryo Akashi, Akihiro Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) is a medicinal plant that contains glycyrrhizin (GL), which has various pharmacological activities. Because licorice is a legume, it can establish a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing rhizobial bacteria. However, the effect of this symbiosis on GL production is unknown. Rhizobia were isolated from root nodules of Glycyrrhiza glabra, and a rhizobium that can form root nodules in G. uralensis was selected. Whole-genome analysis revealed a single circular chromosome of 6.7 Mbp. This rhizobium was classified as Mesorhizobium by phylogenetic analysis and was designated Mesorhizobium sp. J8. When G. uralensis plants grown from cuttings were inoculated with J8, root nodules formed. Shoot biomass and SPAD values of inoculated plants were significantly higher than those of uninoculated controls, and the GL content of the roots was 3.2 times that of controls. Because uninoculated plants from cuttings showed slight nodule formation, we grew plants from seeds in plant boxes filled with sterilized vermiculite, inoculated half of the seedlings with J8, and grew them with or without 100 µM KNO3. The SPAD values of inoculated plants were significantly higher than those of uninoculated plants. Furthermore, the expression level of the CYP88D6 gene, which is a marker of GL synthesis, was 2.5 times higher than in inoculated plants. These results indicate that rhizobial symbiosis promotes both biomass and GL production in G. uralensis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Biotechnology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Glycyrrhiza uralensis
  • Glycyrrhizin
  • Nodulation
  • Rhizobium
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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