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Adaptation Of Nitrogenase To Varying Oxygen Tension And The Role Of The Vesicle In Root Nodules Of Alnus Incana Ssp. Rugosa

W. Silvester, Janet K. Silvester, J. Torrey
Published 1988 · Biology

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Growth of Alnus incana ssp. rugosa plants with root systems at Po2 levels of 5, 21, and 40 kPa showed no significant differences among treatments over a 6-week period. Nitrogenase activity of attached nodulated foot systems run in an opencuvette continuous-flow system generally was responsive to Po2 over a broad range around the optimum. Plants expressed acetylene-induced and oxygen-induced transient declines in nitrogenase activity, from which they spontaneously recovered. Nitrogenase activity was seldom stable at any one Po2 during assay with apparent adaptation to both above- and below-ambient Po2 Nodule morphology showed quantitative decreases in aeration pathways as ambient Po2 was increased, with air spaces in the cortex and infected tissue being significantly affected. The major change in response to Po2 was the change in vesicle structure. Vesicles from nodules at low Po2 showed a vanishingly thin vesicle envelope under dark-field microscopy, while at high Po2 vesicles appeared very bright and app...
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