Nodule Protein Synthesis and Nitrogenase Activity of Soybeans Exposed to Fixed Nitrogen

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American Society of Plant Biologists

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Plant Physiology

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Nitrate or ammonium was added to soybean (Glycine max L. Merrill cv Corsoy) plants grown in plastic pouches 10 days after nodules first appeared. By the third day of treatment with 10 millimolar nitrate, nitrogenase specific activity (per unit nodule weight) had decreased to 15% to 25% of that of untreated plants. Longer incubations and higher concentrations of nitrate had no greater effect. In addition, exogenous nitrate or ammonium resulted in slower nodule growth and decreased total protein synthesis in both the bacterial and the plant portion of the nodule (as measured by incorporation of 35S). Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed that the nitrogenase components were not repressed or degraded relative to other bacteroid proteins. In the presence of an optimal carbon source, the nitrogenase specific activity of nodules detached from nitrate-treated plants was equivalent to that of nodules from untreated plants. These results are consistent with models that propose decreased availability or utilization of photosynthate in root nodules when legumes are exposed to fixed nitrogen.


Plant Physiology, Vol. 70, No. 5 (November 1982): 1236-1241. DOI.