AbstractAlthough ubiquitously present, information on the function of complex N-glycan posttranslational modification in plants is very limited and it is often neglected. In this work, we adopted an enzyme-assisted matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging strategy to visualize the distribution and identity of N-glycans in soybean root nodules at a cellular resolution. We additionally performed proteomics analysis to probe the potential correlation to proteome changes during symbiotic rhizobia-legume interactions. Our ion images reveal that intense N-glycosylation occurs in the sclerenchyma layer, and inside the infected cells within the infection zone, while morphological structures such as the cortex, uninfected cells, and cells that form the attachment with the root are less N-glycosylated. Notably, we observed different N-glycan profiles between soybean root nodules infected with wild type rhizobia and those infected with mutant rhizobia incapable of efficiently fixing atmospheric nitrogen. The majority of complex N-glycan structures, particularly those with characteristic Lewis-a epitopes, are overexpressed in the mutant nodules. Our proteomic results revealed that these glycans likely originated from proteins that maintain the redox balance crucial for proper nitrogen fixation, but also from enzymes involved in N-glycan and phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. These findings indicate possible involvement of Lewis-a glycans in these critical pathways during legume-rhizobia symbiosis.
Published: June 30, 2022