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J Plant Physiol. 2006 Mar;163(5):497-505. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

Shoot-applied polyamines suppress nodule formation in soybean (Glycine max).

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  • 1Plant Nutrition Diagnosis Laboratory, National Agricultural Research Center, Kannondai 3-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8666, Japan. jtera@affrc.go.jp


In legumes, the number of root nodules is controlled by a mechanism called autoregulation. Recently, we found that the foliar brassinosteroid (BR), a plant growth-regulating hormone, systemically regulates the nodule number in soybean plants. In the present study we report that such down-regulation of root nodule formation by a BR may occur through a change of the polyamine contents, with the experimental evidence as follows. The foliar contents of both spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) in the super-nodulating soybean mutant, En6500, were always lower than those in its parent line, Enrei. This lower Spd and Spm content accompanied a striking accumulation of putrescine (Put) in the former plant. This finding indicates that Spd and Spm biosynthesis from their precursor Put is repressed in En6500. The foliar treatments with Spd or Spm of En6500 led to a reduction of both nodule number and root growth. On the other hand, foliar treatment with MDL74038, a specific inhibitor of Spd biosynthesis, apparently increased the root nodule number in Enrei. Foliar application of brassinolide (BL) of En6500 increased the leaf Spd level and reduced the nodule number. These results suggested that BL-induced Spd synthesis in shoots might suppress the root nodule formation.

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