Primary metabolism in N2-fixing Alnus incana-Frankia symbiotic root nodules studied with 15N and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
- PubMed: 15179512
The primary nitrogen metabolism of the N2-fixing root nodule symbiosis Alnus incana (L.)- Frankia was investigated by 31P and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Perfusion of root nodules in a pulse-chase approach with 15N- or 14N-labeled NH4+ revealed the presence of the amino acids alanine (Ala), gamma-amino butyric acid, glutamine (Gln), glutamic acid (Glu), citrulline (Cit) and arginine (Arg). Labeling kinetics of the Gln amide-N and alpha-amino acids suggested that the glutamine synthetase (GS; EC 220.127.116.11)-glutamate synthase (GOGAT; EC 18.104.22.168) pathway was active. Inhibition of the GS-catalyzed reaction by methionine sulphoximine abolished incorporation of 15N. Cit was labeled in all three N positions but most rapidly in the omega position, consistent with carbamoyl phosphate as the precursor to which Gln could be the amino donor catalyzed by carbamoyl phosphate synthase (CPS; EC 22.214.171.124). Ala biosynthesis occurred consistent with a flux of N in the sequence Gln-Glu-Ala. 31P NMR spectroscopy in vivo and of extracts revealed several metabolites and was used in connection with the 15N pulse-chase experiment to assess general metabolic status. Stable concentrations of ATP and UDP-glucose during extended perfusions showed that the overall root nodule metabolism appeared undisturbed throughout the experiments. The metabolic pathways suggested by the NMR results were confirmed by high activities of the enzymes GS, NADH-GOGAT and ornithine carbamoyltransferase (OCT; EC 126.96.36.199). We conclude that the primary pathway of NH4+ assimilation in A. incana root nodules occurs through the GS-GOGAT pathway. Biosynthesis of Cit through GS-CPS-OCT is important and is a link between the first amino acid Gln and this final transport and storage form of nitrogen.