NIN is one of the most important root nodule symbiotic genes as it is required for both infection and nodule organogenesis in legume. Unlike most legumes with a sole NIN gene, there are four putative NIN genes in soybean (Glycine max) All four GmNIN genes are induced by rhizobia.
NIN is one of the most important root nodule symbiotic genes as it is required for both infection and nodule organogenesis in legume. Unlike most legumes with a sole NIN gene, there are four putative NIN genes in soybean (Glycine max). Whether and how these orthologs NIN genes contribute to soybean-rhizobia symbiotic interaction remain unknown. In this study, we found that all four GmNIN genes are induced by rhizobia, and that conserved CE and CYC binding motifs in their promoter regions are required for their expression in the nodule formation process. By generation of multiplex Gmnin mutants, we found that Gmnin1a nin2a nin2b triple mutant and Gmnin1a nin1b nin2a nin2b quadruple mutant displayed similar defects in rhizobia infection and root nodule formation, Gmnin2a nin2b produced less nodules but displayed hyper infection phenotype than wild type, while a Gmnin1a nin1b double mutant nodulated as wild type. Overexpression of GmNIN1a, GmNIN1b, GmNIN2a, and GmNIN2b reduced nodule numbers after rhizobia inoculation, with GmNIN1b overexpression having the weakest effect. In addition, overexpression of GmNIN1a, GmNIN2a, or GmNIN2b, but not GmNIN1b, produced malformed pseudo-nodule like structures without rhizobia inoculation. In conclusion, GmNIN1a, GmNIN2a and GmNIN2b play functionally redundant yet complicated roles for soybean nodulation. GmNIN1b, although is expressed at comparable level with other homologs, plays a minor role in root nodule symbiosis. Our work provides insight into the understanding of asymmetrically redundant function of GmNIN genes in soybean.