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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Jan;58(1):61-71.

Ammonia and amino acid transport across symbiotic membranes in nitrogen-fixing legume nodules.

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  • 1Biochemistry Department, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.


Biological nitrogen fixation involves the reduction of atmospheric N2 to ammonia by the bacterial enzyme nitrogenase. In legume-rhizobium symbioses, the nitrogenase-producing bacteria (bacteroids) are contained in the infected cells of root nodules within which they are enclosed by a plant membrane to form a structure known as the symbiosome. The plant provides reduced carbon to the bacteroids in exchange for fixed nitrogen, which is exported to the rest of the plant. This exchange is controlled by plant-synthesised transport proteins on the symbiosome membranes. This review summarises our current understanding of these transport processes, focusing on ammonia and amino acid transport.

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