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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1991

Nitrogenase Activity and Amounts of Nitrogenase Proteins in a Frankia-Alnus incana Symbiosis Subjected to Darkness

Lundquist, Per-Olof; Huss-Danell, Kerstin


Effects of prolonged darkness on nitrogenase activity in vivo, nitrogenase activity in vitro, and the amounts of nitrogenase proteins were studied in symbiotic Frankia. Plants of Alnus incana (L.) Moench in symbiosis with a local source of Frankia were grown for 9 to 10 weeks in an 18/6 hour light/darkness cycle. After 12 hours of a light period, the plants were exposed to darkness for up to 40 hours. Nitrogenase activity (acetylene reduction activity) of intact plants was measured repeatedly. Frankia vesicle clusters were prepared from the nodules with an anaerobic homogenization and filtration technique and were used for measurements of in vitro nitrogenase activity and for measurements of the amounts of nitrogenase proteins on Western blots. Antisera made against dinitrogenase reductase (Fe-protein) of Rhodospirillum rubrum and against dinitrogenase (MoFe-protein) of Azotobacter vinelandii were used. Western blots were made transparent and nitrogenase proteins were quantified spectrophotometrically. Nitrogenase activity both in vivo and in vitro decreased after about 23 hours of darkness and continued to decrease to about 25% and 16% of initial activity, respectively, after 40 hours. The amount of Fe-protein and MoFe-protein in Frankia of the same plants decreased to 60% and 35%, respectively, after 40 hours of darkness. Loss of nitrogenase activity thus appeared to be largely explained by loss of MoFe-protein.

Published in

Plant Physiology
1991, Volume: 95, number: 3, pages: 808-813

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