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J Bacteriol. 1991 Jan;173(2):851-9.

Exopolysaccharide mutants of Rhizobium loti are fully effective on a determinate nodulating host but are ineffective on an indeterminate nodulating host.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Genetics, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


By Tn5 mutagenesis of Rhizobium loti PN184 (NZP2037 str-1) and selection for nonfluorescence of colonies on Calcofluor agar, eight independently generated expolysaccharide (EPS) mutants (three smooth and five rough) were isolated. The parent strain, PN184, was found to produce an acidic EPS. This EPS was produced. with reduced O acetylation, by the smooth EPS mutants but not by the rough EPS mutants. Lipopolysaccharide was isolated from all mutants and was identical to that of PN184 as defined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. All mutants were resistant to lysis by R. loti bacteriophage phi 2037/1. Cosmids that complemented the mutations in the rough EPS mutants were isolated from a pLAFR1 gene library of NZP2037 by complementation of the nonfluorescent phenotype. The genes identified were shown to be unlinked and located on the chromosome. All mutants were fully effective when inoculated onto Lotus pedunculatus, a determinate nodulating host, but were ineffective, inducing the formation of very small nodules or tumorlike growths, when inoculated onto Leucaena leucocephala, an indeterminate nodulating host. These results, obtained in an isogenic Rhizobium background, support suggestions that acidic EPS is required for effective nodulation of indeterminate nodulating legumes but is not required for effective nodulation of determinate nodulating legumes.

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