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J Bacteriol. 1990 May;172(5):2622-32.

The symbiotic defect of Rhizobium meliloti exopolysaccharide mutants is suppressed by lpsZ+, a gene involved in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


exo mutants of Rhizobium meliloti SU47, which fail to secrete acidic extracellular polysaccharide (EPS), induce Fix- nodules on alfalfa. However, mutants of R. meliloti Rm41 carrying the same exo lesions induce normal Fix+ nodules. We show that such induction is due to a gene from strain Rm41, which we call lpsZ+, that is missing in strain SU47. lpsZ+ does not restore EPS production but instead alters the composition and structure of lipopolysaccharide. In both SU47 and Rm41, either lpsZ+ or exo+ is sufficient for normal nodulation. This suggests that in R. meliloti EPS and lipopolysaccharide can perform the same function in nodule development.

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