J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2014, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (10): 971-978.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12201

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Mechanistic action of gibberellins in legume nodulation

Satomi Hayashi, Peter M. Gresshoff and Brett J. Ferguson*   

  1. Centre for Integrative Legume Research, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Received:2014-01-23 Accepted:2014-03-25 Published:2014-03-26
  • About author:*Correspondence: E-mail: b.ferguson1@uq.edu.au


Legume plants are capable of entering into a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria. This results in the formation of novel organs on their roots, called nodules, in which the bacteria capture atmospheric nitrogen and provide it as ammonium to the host plant. Complex molecular and physiological changes are involved in the formation and establishment of such nodules. Several phytohormones are known to play key roles in this process. Gibberellins (gibberellic acids; GAs), a class of phytohormones known to be involved in a wide range of biological processes (i.e., cell elongation, germination) are reported to be involved in the formation and maturation of legume nodules, highlighted by recent transcriptional analyses of early soybean symbiotic steps. Here, we summarize what is currently known about GAs in legume nodulation and propose a model of GA action during nodule development. Results from a wide range of studies, including GA application, mutant phenotyping, and gene expression studies, indicate that GAs are required at different stages, with an optimum, tightly regulated level being key to achieve successful nodulation. Gibberellic acids appear to be required at two distinct stages of nodulation: (i) early stages of rhizobia infection and nodule primordium establishment; and (ii) later stages of nodule maturation.


Hayashi S, Gresshoff PM, Ferguson BJ (2014) Mechanistic action of gibberellins in legume nodulation. J Integr Plant Biol 56: 971–978 doi: 10.1111/jipb.12201

Key words: Gibberellic acid, legume, nodulation, phytohormone, plant development, rhizobia, symbiosis

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