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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Jul;25(1):135-46.

The Rhizobium leguminosarum prsDE genes are required for secretion of several proteins, some of which influence nodulation, symbiotic nitrogen fixation and exopolysaccharide modification.

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1
Department of Genetics, John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich, UK.

Abstract

NodO is a secreted protein from Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae with a role in signalling during legume nodulation. A Tn5-induced mutant was identified that was defective in NodO secretion. As predicted, the secretion defect decreased pea and vetch nodulation but only when the nodE gene was also mutated. This confirms earlier observations that NodO plays a particularly important role in nodulation when Nod factors carrying C18:1 (but not C18:4) acyl groups are the primary signalling molecules. In addition to NodO secretion and nodulation, the secretion mutant had a number of other characteristics. Several additional proteins including at least three Ca2+-binding proteins were not secreted by the mutant and this is thought to have caused the pleiotropic phenotype. The nodules formed by the secretion mutant were unable to fix nitrogen efficiently; this was not due to a defect in invasion because the nodule structures appeared normal and nodule cells contained many bacteroids. The mutant formed sticky colonies and viscous liquid cultures; analysis of the acidic exopolysaccharide revealed a decrease in the ratio of reducing sugars to total sugar content, indicating a longer chain length. The use of a plate assay showed that the mutant was defective in an extracellular glycanase activity. DNA sequencing identified the prsDE genes, which are homologous to genes encoding protease export systems in Erwinia chrysanthemi and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. An endoglycanase (Egl) from Azorhizobium caulinodans may be secreted from R. leguminosarum bv. viciae in a prsD-dependent manner. We conclude that the prsDE genes encode a Type I secretion complex that is required for the secretion of NodO, a glycanase and probably a number of other proteins, at least one of which is necessary for symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

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