Nitrogen transfer in the interface between the symbionts in pea root nodules

L. Rosendahl, P. Mouritzen, A. Rudbeck

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Transport mechanisms for transfer of nitrogen from the bacteroid side across the symbiosome membrane of pea (Pisum sativum L.) root nodules were identified by the use of energised bacteroid side-out symbiosome membrane vesicles. Such membrane vesicles were used to study a mechanism with high capacity for transport of ammonium and another mechanism capable of transporting aspartate. Both transport mechanisms are voltage driven and the rate of transport relates positively to the magnitude of the imposed membrane potentials. Competition for transport between ammonium and aspartate was not observed. The ammonium transporter has been identified as a voltage-driven channel whereas the symbiosome membrane aspartate transporter appears to be a H+/aspartate symport. The results suggest that nitrogen transfer between the symbionts in pea root nodules involves transfer of amino acids as well as ammonium. In the symbiosome subfraction, which represents the interface between the symbionts, specific aspartate aminotransferase activity was more than four times as high as in the bacteroid cytosol. This finding supports a hypothesis that transamination cycles operating between the symbionts may constitute a component of the transfer of nitrogen between the symbionts.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)31-37
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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