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Arch Microbiol. 2000 Jul-Aug;174(1-2):42-9.

A critical role for aniA in energy-carbon flux and symbiotic nitrogen fixation in Sinorhizobium meliloti.

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Dipartimento di Biotechnologie Agrarie, Università di Padova, Padua, Italy.


During free-living reproductive growth, Sinorhizobium meliloti accumulates poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and glycogen, and produces and excretes exopolysaccharides and beta-1,2-glucan. In previous investigations, PHB-minus mutants of S. meliloti 41 were obtained and studied; and the genes for PHB biosynthesis, phaAB and phaC, were described. In this work, the role of an open reading frame (orf) upstream of phaAB is studied. This orf is designated aniA because the gene was found to be expressed during anaerobic growth. Under low oxygen conditions, glycogen decreases and the production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) is partially repressed. When the aniA mutant is incubated under oxygen-limiting conditions, the only significant change observed is an overproduction of EPS. Subsequent in planta tests showed that although the mutant strain produced abundant nodules, only very low acetylene-reduction activity was detected, indicating that nitrogen fixation was not adequately supported by endogenous substrates.

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