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Can J Microbiol. 2002 Sep;48(9):765-71.

Identification and cloning of the bacterial nodulation specificity gene in the Sinorhizobium meliloti--Medicago laciniata symbiosis.

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Soils and Crops Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2560 Hochelaga Blvd., Sainte-Foy, QC G1V 2J3, Canada.


Medicago laciniata (cut-leaf medic) is an annual medic that is highly nodulation specific, nodulating only with a restricted range of Sinorhizobium meliloti. e.g., strain 102L4, but not with most strains that nodulate Medicago sativa (alfalfa), e.g., strains RCR2011 and Rm41. Our aim was to identify and clone the S. meliloti 102L4 gene implicated in the specific nodulation of M. laciniata and to characterize the adjacent nodulation (nod) region. An 11-kb EcoRI DNA fragment from S. meliloti 102L4 was shown to complement strain RCR2011 for nodulation of M. laciniata. Nucleotide sequencing revealed that this fragment contained nodABCIJ genes whose overall arrangement was similar to those found in strains RCR2011 and Rm41, which do not nodulate M. laciniata. Data for Tn5 mutagenesis of the nodABCIJ region of strain 102L4 suggested that the nodC gene was involved in the specific nodulation of M. laciniata. Tn5 insertions in the nodIJ genes gave mutants with nodulation delay phenotypes on both M. laciniata and M. sativa. Only subclones of the 11-kb DNA fragment containing a functional nodC gene from strain 102L4 were able to complement strain RCR2011 for nodulation of M. laciniata. The practical implications of these findings are discussed in the context of the development of a specific M. sativa - S. meliloti combination that excludes competition for nodulation by bacterial competitors resident in soil.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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