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Genetika. 2001 Nov;37(11):1507-12.

[Analysis of various types of competition in Tn5-mutants of alfalfa rhizobium bacteria (Sinorhizobium meliloti)].

[Article in Russian]

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All-Russia Research Institute for Agricultural Microbiology, Pushkin, St. Petersburg, 196608 Russia.


Nodulation, rhizospheral, and saprophytic types of competitiveness (NC, RC, and SC, respectively) were studied in the highly active strains CXM1-105 and CXM1-188 of the alfalfa rhizobium Sinorhizobium meliloti. The competitiveness was estimated with the use of markers of antibiotic resistance. It was found that the mutant strain T37, which was characterized by a drastically decreased NC, had higher SC and RC than the parental strain. The mutant T107 (with a moderately decreased NC) did not differ from the parental strain with respect to RC but had a higher SC. The mutant T27 (with the lowest NC) did not differ from the parental strain with respect to SC or RC. In the mutant Tb1, the NC and RC were decreased and the SC was the same as in the parental strain. In Tb7, the SC was decreased and RC was increased. In the mutant T795, all of the three types of competitiveness were decreased. The difference between the mutants studied and the parental strain with respect to NC and RC was confirmed using an indirect method (the ability to form effective symbiosis after mixed inoculation together with the an ineffective tester strain CXM1-48) and the X-Gluc staining method (using the S. meliloti RmM4gus tester strain carrying the gene of beta-glucuronidase). However, the decreased SC that the mutants exhibited when they were cultivated together with parental strains in a plant-growth substrate (vermiculite) was not observed in the case of their cocultivation in liquid media. The independent variation of different types of competitiveness indicate that rhizobia have several separate gene systems determining their survival in in planta and ex planta ecological niches.

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