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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Dec;6(23):3575-84.

Broad-host-range Rhizobium species strain NGR234 secretes a family of carbamoylated, and fucosylated, nodulation signals that are O-acetylated or sulphated.

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L.B.M.P.S., Université de Genève, Switzerland.


Rhizobium species strain NGR234 is the most promiscuous known rhizobium. In addition to the non-legume Parasponia andersonii, it nodulates at least 70 genera of legumes. Here we show that the nodulation genes of this bacterium determine the production of a large family of Nod-factors which are N-acylated chitin pentamers carrying a variety of substituents. The terminal non-reducing glucosamine is N-acylated with vaccenic or palmitic acids, is N-methylated, and carries varying numbers of carbamoyl groups. The reducing N-acetyl-glucosamine residue is substituted on position 6 with 2-O-methyl-L-fucose which may be acetylated or sulphated or non-substituted. All three internal residues are N-acetylated. At pico- to nanomolar concentrations, these signal molecules exhibit biological activities on the tropical legumes Macroptilium and Vigna (Phaseoleae), as well as on both the temperate genera Medicago (Trifoliae) and Vicia (Viciae). These data strongly suggest that the uniquely broad host range of NGR234 is mediated by the synthesis of a family of varied sulphated and non-sulphated lipo-oligosaccharide signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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