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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 Jan;56(1):98-103.

Construction of a Symbiotically Effective Strain of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii with Increased Nodulation Competitiveness.

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  • 1Department of Agronomy and Center for the Study of Nitrogen Fixation, 1575 Linden Drive, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


Genes involved in nodulation competitiveness (tfx) were inserted by marker exchange into the genome of the effective strain Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii TA1. Isogenic strains of TA1 were constructed which differed only in their ability to produce trifolitoxin, an antirhizobial peptide. Trifolitoxin production by the ineffective strain R. leguminosarum bv. trifolii T24 limited nodulation of clover roots by trifolitoxin-sensitive strains of R. leguminosarum bv. trifolii. The trifolitoxin-producing exconjugant TA1::10-15 was very competitive for nodulation on clover roots when coinoculated with a trifolitoxin-sensitive reference strain. The nonproducing exconjugant TA1::12-10 was not competitive for nodule occupancy when coinoculated with the reference strain. Tetracycline sensitivity and Southern analysis confirmed the loss of vector DNA in the exconjugants. Trifolitoxin production by TA1::10-15 was stable in the absence of selection pressure. Transfer of tfx to TA1 did not affect nodule number or nitrogenase activity. These experiments represent the first stable genetic transfer of genes involved in nodulation competitiveness to a symbiotically effective Rhizobium strain.

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