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Can J Microbiol. 2005 Jul;51(7):599-604.

Comparison of the symbiotic and competition phenotypes of Sinorhizobium meliloti PHB synthesis and degradation pathway mutants.

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Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Mcgill University, Canada.


The competitive abilities of Sinorhizobium meliloti mutant strains containing lesions in the PHB synthesis (phbC) and degradation (bdhA) pathways were compared. While the bdhA mutant showed no noticeable symbiotic defects on alfalfa host plants when inoculated alone, in mixed inoculation experiments it was found to be less competitive than the wild type for nodule occupancy. Long-term survival of the bdhA mutant on a carbon-limiting medium was not affected. However, when subjected to competition with the wild-type strain in periodic subculturing through alternating carbon-limiting and carbon-excess conditions, the bdhA mutant performed poorly. A more severe defect in competition for growth and nodule occupancy was observed with a mutant unable to synthesize PHB (phbC). These results indicate that the ability to efficiently deposit cellular PHB stores is a key factor influencing competitive survival under conditions of fluctuating nutrient carbon availability, whereas the ability to use these stores is less important.

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