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Allantoin and allantoic acid in the nitrogen economy of the cowpea vigna unguiculata

, : Allantoin and allantoic acid in the nitrogen economy of the cowpea vigna unguiculata. Plant Physiology (Rockville) 62(4): 495-498

The ureides, allantoin and allantoic acid, represented major fractions of the soluble N pool of nodulated plants of cowpea (V. unguiculata [L.] Walp. cv. Caloona) throughout vegetative and reproductive growth. Stem and petioles were the principal sites of ureide accumulation, especially in early fruiting. Labeling studies using 14CO2 and 15N2 and incubation periods of 25-245 min indicated that synthesis of allantoin and allantoic acid in root nodules involved currently delivered photosynthate and recently fixed N, and that the ureides were exported from nodule to shoot via the xylem. From 60-80% of xylem-borne N consisted of ureides; the remainder was glutamine, asparagine and amino acids. Allantoin predominated in the soluble N fraction of nodules and fruits, allantoin and allantoic acid were present in approximately equal proportions in xylem exudate, stems and petioles. Extracts of the plant tissue fraction of N-fixing cowpea nodules contained glutamate synthase (EC and glutamine synthetase (EC, but little activity of glutamate dehydrogenase (EC High levels of uricase (EC and allantoinase (EC were also detected. Allantoinase but little uricase was found in extracts of leaflets, pods and seeds. Balance sheets were constructed for production, storage and utilization of ureide N during growth. Virtually all (average 92%) of the ureides exported from roots was metabolized on entering the shoot, the compounds being presumably used as N sources for protein synthesis.


PMID: 16660546

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