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J Bacteriol. 1994 Feb;176(4):1060-8.

Root nodulation of Sesbania rostrata.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Sols, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM), Dakar, Sénégal.


The tropical legume Sesbania rostrata can be nodulated by Azorhizobium caulinodans on both its stem and its root system. Here we investigate in detail the process of root nodulation and show that nodules develop exclusively at the base of secondary roots. Intercellular infection leads to the formation of infection pockets, which then give rise to infection threads. Concomitantly with infection, cortical cells of the secondary roots dedifferentiate, forming a meristem which has an "open-basket" configuration and which surrounds the initial infection site. Bacteria are released from the tips of infection threads into plant cells via "infection droplets," each containing several bacteria. Initially, nodule differentiation is comparable to that of indeterminate nodules, with the youngest meristematic cells being located at the periphery and the nitrogen-fixing cells being located at the nodule center. Because of the peculiar form of the meristem, Sesbania root nodules develop uniformly around a central axis. Nitrogen fixation is detected as early as 3 days following inoculation, while the nodule meristem is still active. Two weeks after inoculation, meristematic activity ceases, and nodules then show the typical histology of determinate nodules. Thus, root nodule organogenesis in S. rostrata appears to be intermediate between indeterminate and determinate types.

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