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Plant Physiol. 1998 Apr;116(4):1259-69.

Evidence that the plant host synthesizes the heme moiety of leghemoglobin in root nodules


Although it is well established that the plant host encodes and synthesizes the apoprotein for leghemoglobin in root nodules, the source of the heme moiety has been uncertain. We recently found that the transcript for coproporphyrinogen III oxidase, one of the later enzymes of heme synthesis, is highly elevated in soybean (Glycine max L.) nodules compared with roots. In this study we measured enzyme activity and carried out western-blot analysis and in situ hybridization of mRNA to investigate the levels during nodulation of the plant-specific coproporphyrinogen oxidase and four other enzymes of the pathway in both soybean and pea (Pisum sativum L.). We compared them with the activity found in leaves and uninfected roots. Our results demonstrate that all of these enzymes are elevated in the infected cells of nodules. Because these are the same cells that express apoleghemoglobin, the data strongly support a role for the plant in the synthesis of the heme moiety of leghemoglobin.

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