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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2001 Feb;14(2):173-80.

Lotus japonicus forms early senescent root nodules with Rhizobium etli.

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Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Japan.


Mesorhizobium loti and Rhizobium etli are microsymbionts of the Lotus and Phaseolus spp., respectively, and secrete essentially the same Nod factors. Lotus japonicus efficiently formed root nodules with R. etli CE3, irrespective of the presence or absence of a flavonoid-independent transcription activator nodD gene. On a nitrogen-free medium, however, the host plant inoculated with R. etli showed a severe nitrogen deficiency symptom. Initially, the nodules formed with R. etli were pale pink and leghemoglobin mRNA was detectable at significant levels. Nevertheless, the nodules became greenish with time. Acetylene-reduction activity of nodules formed with R. etli was comparable with that formed by M. loti 3 weeks postinoculation, but thereafter it decreased rapidly. The nodules formed with R. etli contained much more starch granules than those formed with M. loti. R. etli developed into bacteroids in the L. japonicus nodules, although the density of bacteroids in the infected cells was lower than that in the nodules formed with M. loti. The nodules formed with R. etli were of the early senescence type, in that membrane structures were drastically disintegrated in the infected cells of the greenish nodules. Thus, L. japonicus started and then ceased a symbiotic relationship with R. etli at the final stage.

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