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Plant Physiol. 1981 Nov;68(5):1144-9.

Transient susceptibility of root cells in four common legumes to nodulation by rhizobia.

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  • 1Charles F. Kettering Research Laboratory, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.


Root cells of four common legumes were found to remain susceptible to nodulation by rhizobia for only a short period of time. Delayed inoculation experiments conducted with these legume hosts indicated that the initially susceptible region of the root became progressively less susceptible if inoculations were delayed by a few hours. Profiles of the frequency of nodule formation relative to marks indicating the regions of root and root hair development at the time of inoculation indicated that nodulation of Vigna sinensis (L.) Endl. cv California Black Eye and Medicago sativa L. cvs Moapa and Vernal roots was inhibited just below the region that was most susceptible at the time of inoculation. This result suggests the existence of a fast-acting regulatory mechanism in these hosts that prevents overnodulation. Nodulation in white clover may occur in two distinct phases. In addition to the transient susceptibility of preemergent and developing root hair cells, there appeared to be an induced susceptibility of mature clover root hair cells. A cell-free bacterial exudate preparation from Rhizobium trifolii cells was found to render mature root hair cells of white clover more rapidly susceptible to nodulation.

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