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Plant Physiol. 1980 Dec;66(6):1027-31.

Early Events in the Infection of Soybean (Glycine max L. Merr) by Rhizobium japonicum: I. LOCALIZATION OF INFECTIBLE ROOT CELLS.

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


The infectible cells of soybean roots appear to be located at any given time just above the zone of root elongation and just below the position of the smallest emergent root hairs. The location of infectible cells on the primary root at the time of inoculation was inferred from the position of subsequent nodule development, correcting for displacement of epidermal cells due to root elongation. Marks were made on the seedling growth pouches at the time of inoculation to indicate the position of the root tip and the zones of root hair development. Virtually all of the seedlings developed nodules on the primary root above the marks made at the root tips at the time of inoculation. None of the plants formed nodules on the root where mature root hairs were present at the time of inoculation. These results and profiles of nodulation frequency indicate that the location of infectible cells is developmentally restricted. When inoculations were delayed for intervals of 1 to 4 hours after marking the positions of the root tips, progressively fewer nodules were formed above the root tip marks, and the uppermost of these nodules were formed at progressively shorter distances above the marks. These results indicate that the infectibility of given host cells is a transient property that appears and then is lost within a few hours. The results also indicate that host responses leading to infection and nodulation are triggered or initiated in less than 2 hours after inoculation. The extent of nodulation above the root tip mark increased in proportion to the logarithm of the number of bacteria in the inoculum.

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