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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Sep;6(17):2477-87.

Molecular dissection of structure and function in the lipopolysaccharide of Rhizobium leguminosarum strain 3841 using monoclonal antibodies and genetic analysis.

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John Innes Institute, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.


Following treatment with nitrosoguanidine, mutant derivatives of Rhizobium leguminosarum strain 3841 were isolated which failed to react with AFRC MAC 203. This monoclonal antibody normally recognizes a strain-specific lipopolysaccharide epitope which is developmentally regulated during legume nodule differentiation. Structural modification of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was analysed by examining reactivity with a range of monoclonal antibodies with different epitope specificities, and also by analysis of LPS mobility changes after electrophoresis on polyacrylamide gels. One class of these LPS-defective mutants induced normal nitrogen-fixing (Fix+) nodules on peas (Pisum sativum), while another two classes of Fix- mutants were also identified, suggesting that a component of the LPS antigen that is part of the MAC 203 epitope is essential for normal nodule development leading to symbiotic nitrogen fixation. When grown under low-oxygen or low-pH culture conditions, one class of Fix- mutants completely lacked LPS-1 (the species that carries O antigen) and a second class showed a modified and truncated form of LPS-1. Mutants with defective LPS structure were also obtained after Tn5 mutagenesis of R. leguminosarum 3841 and all nine Fix- mutants were also found to lack the MAC 203 epitope. Three of these transposon-induced mutants synthesized a truncated form of LPS-1 that was structurally similar to that of the class of the NTG-induced mutants described above. These transposon-induced mutations, and the nitrosoguanidine-induced Fix- mutations, were closely linked and could be suppressed by the same cloned fragment of chromosomal DNA. The data presented here suggest that a precondition for normal nodule development of R. leguminosarum 3841 within pea nodules is the ability to synthesize relatively long-chain LPS-1 macromolecules under the physiological conditions encountered within the nodule. All mutants that lacked the ability to elongate LPS-1 macromolecules also failed to express the MAC 203 epitope.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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