Infection of legume roots or stems with soil bacteria of the Rhizobiaceae results in the formation of nodules that become symbiotic nitrogen-fixing organs. Within the infected cells of these nodules, bacteria are enveloped in a membrane of plant origin, called the peribacteroid membrane (PBM), and divide and differentiate to form nitrogen-fixing bacteroids. The organelle-like structure comprised of PBM and bacteroids is termed the symbiosome, and is the basic nitrogen-fixing unit of the nodule. The major exchange of nutrients between the symbiotic partners is reduced carbon from the plant, to fuel nitrogenase activity in the bacteroid, and fixed nitrogen from the bacteroid, which is assimilated in the plant cytoplasm. However, many other metabolites are also exchanged. The metabolic interaction between the plant and the bacteroids is regulated by a series of transporters and channels on the PBM and the bacteroid membrane, and these form the focus of this review.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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