Identification of a transport mechanism for NH4+ in the symbiosome membrane of pea root nodules

P. Mouritzen, L. Rosendahl

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


    Symbiosome membrane vesicles, facing bacteroid-side-out, were purified from pea (Pisum sativum L.) root nodules and used to study NH4+ transport across the membrane by recording vesicle uptake of the NH4+ analog [C-14]methylamine (MA). Membrane potentials (Delta psi) were imposed on the vesicles using K+ concentration gradients and valinomycin, and the size of the imposed Delta psi was determined by measuring vesicle uptake of [C-14]tetraphenylphosphonium. Vesicle uptake of MA was driven by a negative Delta psi and was stimulated by a low extravesicular pH. Protonophore-induced collapse of the pH gradient indicated that uptake of MA was not related to the presence of a pH gradient. The MA-uptake mechanism appeared to have a large capacity for transport, and saturation was not observed at MA concentrations in the range of 25 mu M to 150 mM. MA uptake could be inhibited by NH4+, which indicates that NH4+ and MA compete for the same uptake mechanism. The observed fluxes suggest that voltage-driven channels are operating in the wsymbiosome membrane and that these are capable of transporting NH4+ at high rates from the bacteroid side of the membrane to the plant cytosol. The pH of the symbiosome space is likely to be involved in regulation of the flux.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPlant Physiology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)519-526
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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