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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1992 Jun;58(6):1809-15.

Phylogenetic position of Rhizobium sp. strain Or 191, a symbiont of both Medicago sativa and Phaseolus vulgaris, based on partial sequences of the 16S rRNA and nifH genes.

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Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics, Mueller Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.


Phenotypic and DNA sequence comparisons are presented for eight Rhizobium isolates that were cultured from field-grown alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Oregon. These isolates were previously shown to nodulate both alfalfa and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris (L.) Savi.). The objective of the present study was to determine their phylogenetic relationships to the normal symbionts of these plants, Rhizobium meliloti and Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar phaseoli, respectively. Phenotypically, the Oregon isolates more nearly resemble strains from P. vulgaris than those from M. sativa. For example, even though nitrogen fixation levels were low with both host species, the symbiotic efficiency of a representative Rhizobium isolate (Or 191) with common bean was twice that observed with alfalfa. Comparative sequencing of a 260-bp segment of the 16S rRNA gene (directly sequenced after amplification by the polymerase chain reaction) demonstrated that Or 191 is not closely related to the type strain of R. meliloti (ATCC 9930), R. leguminosarum (ATCC 10004), or Rhizobium tropici (CIAT 899). Instead, sequence comparisons of the 16S gene indicated that Or 191 belongs to a distinct and previously unrecognized taxonomic group that includes strains that have previously been called R. leguminosarum bv. phaseoli type I. Unlike type I strains, however, Or 191 has only a single copy of the nifH gene (type I strains have three), and the nucleotide sequence of this gene is substantially different from those of other rhizobial and nonrhizobial nifH genes examined thus far.

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