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J Bacteriol. Feb 1994; 176(3): 620–633.
PMCID: PMC205098

nodZ, a unique host-specific nodulation gene, is involved in the fucosylation of the lipooligosaccharide nodulation signal of Bradyrhizobium japonicum.


The nodulation genes of rhizobia are regulated by the nodD gene product in response to host-produced flavonoids and appear to encode enzymes involved in the production of a lipo-chitose signal molecule required for infection and nodule formation. We have identified the nodZ gene of Bradyrhizobium japonicum, whose product is required for the addition of a 2-O-methylfucose residue to the terminal reducing N-acetylglucosamine of the nodulation signal. This substitution is essential for the biological activity of this molecule. Mutations in nodZ result in defective nodulation of siratro. Surprisingly, although nodZ clearly codes for nodulation function, it is not regulated by NodD and, indeed, shows elevated expression in planta. Therefore, nodZ represents a unique nodulation gene that is not under the control of NodD and yet is essential for the synthesis of an active nodulation signal.

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