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American Society of Plant Biologists
Purine auxotrophs of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar phaseoli CFN42 elicit uninfected pseudonodules on bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Addition of 4-aminoimidazole-5-carboxamide (AICA) riboside to the root medium during incubation of the plant with these mutants leads to enhanced nodule development, although nitrogenase activity is not detected. Nodules elicited in this manner had infection threads and anatomical features characteristic of normal nodules, such as peripheral vasculature rather than the central vasculature of the pseudonodules that were elicited without AICA riboside supplementation. Although 105 to 106 bacteria could be recovered from these nodules after full development, bacteria were not observed in the interior nodule cells. Instead, large cells with extensive internal membranes were present. Approximately 5% of the normal amount of leghemoglobin and 10% of the normal amount of uricase were detected in these nodules. To promote the development of true nodules rather than pseudonodules, AICA riboside was required no later than the second day through no more than the sixth day following inoculation. After this period, removal of AICA riboside from the root medium did not prevent the formation of true nodules. This observation suggests that there is a critical stage of infection, reached before nodule emergence, at which development becomes committed to forming a true nodule rather than a pseudonodule.