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Root nodule development: origin, function and regulation of nodulin genes

Root nodule development: origin, function and regulation of nodulin genes

Physiologia Plantarum 85(2): 253-265

The symbiotic root nodule, an organ formed on leguminous plants, is a product of successful interactions between the host plant and the soil bacteria, Rhizobium spp. Plant hormones play an important role in the genesis of this organ. The hormonal balance appears to be modulated by the signals produced by bacteria. Many host genes induced during nodule organogenesis and the symbiotic state have been identified and characterized from several legumes. These genes encode nodule-specific proteins (nodulins) which perform diverse functions in root nodule development and metabolism. Formation of a subcellular compartment housing the bacteria is essential to sustain the symbiotic state, and several nodulins arc involved in maintaining the integrity and function of this compartment. The bacteroid enclosed in the peribacteroid membrane behaves as an 'organelle,' completely dependent on the host for all its requirements for carbon, nitrogen and other essential elements. Thus it seems likely that the nodulins in the peribacteroid membrane perform specific transport functions. While the function of a few other nodulins is known (e.g. nodulin-100, nodulin-35), a group of uncharacterized nodulins exists in soybean root nodules. These nodulins share structural similarities and seem to have been derived from a common ancestor. Induction of nodulin genes occurs prior to and independent of nitrogen fixation, and thus is a prelude to symbiosis. Although some of the early nodulin genes are induced prior to or during infection, induction of late nodulins requires endocytotic release of bacteria.

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Accession: 002213593

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.1992.tb04730.x

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