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Plant Mol Biol. 1987 Nov;8(6):447-59. doi: 10.1007/BF00017990.

Multiple host-specificity loci of the broad host-range Rhizobium sp. NGR234 selected using the widely compatible legume Vigna unguiculata.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes Supérieures, Université de Genève, 1 chemin de l'Impératrice, 1292, Chambésy/Genève, Switzerland.


Specificity in legume-Rhizobium symbiosis depends on plant and rhizobial genes. As our objective was to study broad host-range determinants of rhizobia, we sought a legume and a Rhizobium with the lowest possible specificity. By inoculating 12 different legumes with a heterogenous collection of 35 fast-growing rhizobia, we found Rhizobium sp. NGR234 to be the Rhizobium and Vigna unguiculata to be the plant with the lowest specificities. Transfer of cloned fragments of the Sym-plasmid pNGR234a into heterologous rhizobia, screening for extension of host-range of the transconjugants to include V. unguiculata, and restriction mapping of the Hsn- and overlapping clones, proved that there were at least three distinct Hsn-regions (HsnI, II, and III) on pNGR234a. HsnI is located next to nodD, HsnII is linked to nifKDH and HsnIII to nodC. In addition to nodulation of Vigna, HsnI conferred upon the transconjugants the ability to nodulate Glycine max, Macroptilium atropurpureum and Psophocarpus tetragonolobus. All three Hsn-regions, when transferred to the appropriate recipients, induced root-hair-curling on M. atropurpureum. Hsn-region III was able to complement a mutation in the host-range gene nodH of R. meliloti strain 2011. Homology to "nod-box"-sequences could be shown only for the sub-clones containing HsnII and HsnIII, thus suggesting different regulation mechanisms for HsnI and HsnII/III.


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