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Plant Physiol. 1997 Mar;113(3):825-831.

Shoot versus Root Signal Involvement in Nodulation and Vegetative Growth in Wild-Type and Hypernodulating Soybean Genotypes.

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Plant Physiology and Genetics Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, University of Illinois, 1201 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, Illinois 61801.


Grafting studies involving Williams 82 (normally nodulating) and NOD1-3 (hypernodulating) soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) lines and Lablab purpureus were used to evaluate the effect of shoot and root on nodulation control and plant growth. A single- or double-wedge graft technique, with superimposed partial defoliation, was used to separate signal control from a photosynthate supply effect. Grafting of hypernodulated soybean shoots to roots of Williams 82 or L. purpureus resulted in increased nodule numbers. Grafting of two shoots to one root enhanced root growth in both soybean genotypes, whereas the nodule number was a function of shoot genotype but not of the photosynthetic area. In double-shoot, single-root-grafted plants, removing trifoliolate leaves from either Williams 82 or NOD1-3 shoots decreased root and shoot dry matter, attributable to decreased photosynthetic source. Concurrently, Williams 82 shoot defoliation increased the nodule number, whereas NOD1-3 shoot defoliation decreased the nodule number on both soybean and L. purpureus roots. It was concluded that (a) soybean leaves are the dominant site of autoregulatory signal production, which controls the nodule number; (b) soybean and L. purpureus have a common, translocatable, autoregulatory control signal; (c) seedling vegetative growth and nodule number are independently controlled; and (d) two signals, inhibitor and promoter, may be involved in controlling legume nodule numbers.

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