Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is profoundly important for the environment and sustainable agriculture. Most crop plants assimilate nitrogen only from soil via added fertilizers. An alternative source is the rhizobia-legume symbiosis that provides a major source of fixed nitrogen. Rhizobia are capable of inducing the formation of nodules on the roots of their leguminous host plants. These specialized plant organs are invaded by the bacteria which fix nitrogen in an endosymbiotic bacteroid state within the plant cell. This process involves specific recognition and coordinated differentiation of both bacterial and host cells.
Establishment of the Sinorhizobium meliloti-Medicago sativa symbiosis (Figure: D. Kapp, Bielefeld University)
|Roots & Nodules||3 day old nodules||Invading bacteria|
Prof. Dr. Anke Becker
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University of Marburg
Loewe Center for Synthetic Microbiology - Comparative Genomics - Hans-Meerweinstr. 6