Most of the bacterial genes that are specifically induced in bacteroids appear to be regulated, at least in part, by O2. This is not surprising since, as mentioned earlier, the nodule structure and function are designed to provide a microaerobic environment for BNF. The outer cortex of the nodule is aerobic but beyond this region toward the interior of the nodule there is a significant drop in O2 concentration. A low O2 level within the nodule is essential since the nitrogenase enzyme is very O2 labile. However, the low O2 level of the nodule interior creates a paradoxical situation for the rhizobial symbiont whose metabolism is totally dependent on O2 (i.e., obligate aerobe). To circumvent the problem that rhizobia are obligate
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