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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47677. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047677. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Rhizobia with 16S rRNA and nifH similar to Mesorhizobium huakuii but Novel recA, glnII, nodA and nodC genes are symbionts of New Zealand Carmichaelinae.

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Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand.


New Zealand became geographically isolated about 80 million years ago and this separation gave rise to a unique native flora including four genera of legume, Carmichaelia, Clianthus and Montigena in the Carmichaelinae clade, tribe Galegeae, and Sophora, tribe Sophoreae, sub-family Papilionoideae. Ten bacterial strains isolated from NZ Carmichaelinae growing in natural ecosystems grouped close to the Mesorhizobium huakuii type strain in relation to their 16S rRNA and nifH gene sequences. However, the ten strains separated into four groups on the basis of their recA and glnII sequences: all groups were clearly distinct from all Mesorhizobium type strains. The ten strains separated into two groups on the basis of their nodA sequences but grouped closely together in relation to nodC sequences; all nodA and nodC sequences were novel. Seven strains selected and the M. huakuii type strain (isolated from Astragalus sinicus) produced functional nodules on Carmichaelia spp., Clianthus puniceus and A. sinicus but did not nodulate two Sophora species. We conclude that rhizobia closely related to M. huakuii on the basis of 16S rRNA and nifH gene sequences, but with variable recA and glnII genes and novel nodA and nodC genes, are common symbionts of NZ Carmichaelinae.

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