The NMN Module Conducts Nodule Number Orchestra
Abstract Legumes control nodule number through nodulation and autoregulation of nodulation (AON) pathways. Nodule Inception (NIN) is essential for rhizobial infection and nodule organogenesis in legumes. The GmNINa-miR172c-NNC1 (NMN) module, which consists of two positive regulators, GmNINa and miR172c, and a suppressor, NNC1, integrates both pathways. GmNINa activates miR172c to downregulate NNC1, leading to nodulation, while NNC1 inhibits miR172c expression, forming a negative feedback loop. GmNINa and NNC1 interact with each other and antagonistically fine-tune GmRIC1/RIC2 expression, turning AON on and off. Conversely, activation of AON inhibits GmNINa and miR172c expression, thereby reducing their inhibitory effects on NNC1 to attenuate both nodulation signalling and AON. The NMN module functions not only as an “accelerator” of the nodulation signal to promote nodulation but also as a “brake” on the signal by activating AON to orchestrate nodule number.