Transport of fixed nitrogen across symbiotic membranes of legume nodules

Lynne Whitehead, Steve Tyerman, Caroline L. Salom, David A Day

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    Symbiotic nitrogen fixation requires an exchange of reduced carbon to the endosymbiont for fixed nitrogen to the host plant. In this review, the general properties of isolated symbiosomes and transport across the peribacteroid membrane are discussed, with attention focused on the efflux of fixed nitrogen. In Bradyrhizobium symbiosomes, no evidence has been obtained for amino acid transporters on the peribacteroid membrane, even though bacteroids possess active uptake systems. Studies with free-living Bradyrhizobium japonicum suggest that the presence of bacteroid transporters reflects an amino acid poor peribacteroid space. Evidence for the presence of a monovalent cation channel on the peribacteroid membrane of soybean symbiosomes, capable of transporting ammonium out of the symbiosome, is presented and discussed. This channel is voltage-gated and outwardly rectified, properties well-suited to ensure rapid efflux of NH4+ to the plant cytosol upon energization of the peribacteroid membrane. We suggest that, in soybean at least, the simple scheme of malate into the symbiosome and ammonium out represents the major exchange of carbon and nitrogen between bacteroid and plant.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)141-154
    Number of pages14
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


    Dive into the research topics of 'Transport of fixed nitrogen across symbiotic membranes of legume nodules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this