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J Bacteriol. 1989 Mar;171(3):1673-82.

Rhizobium meliloti 1021 has three differentially regulated loci involved in glutamine biosynthesis, none of which is essential for symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

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Max-Planck-Institut f├╝r Z├╝chtungsforschung, Cologne, Federal Republic of Germany.


We have cloned and characterized three distinct Rhizobium meliloti loci involved in glutamine biosynthesis (glnA, glnII, and glnT). The glnA locus shares DNA homology with the glnA gene of Klebsiella pneumoniae, encodes a 55,000-dalton monomer subunit of the heat-stable glutamine synthetase (GS) protein (GSI), and complemented an Escherichia coli glnA mutation. The glnII locus shares DNA homology with the glnII gene of Bradyrhizobium japonicum and encodes a 36,000-dalton monomer subunit of the heat-labile GS protein (GSII). The glnT locus shares no DNA homology with either the glnA or glnII gene and complemented a glnA E. coli strain. The glnT locus codes for an operon encoding polypeptides of 57,000, 48,000, 35,000, 29,000, and 28,000 daltons. glnA and glnII insertion mutants were glutamine prototrophs, lacked the respective GS form (GSI or GSII), grew normally on different nitrogen sources (Asm+), and induced normal, nitrogen-fixing nodules on Medicago sativa plants (Nod+ Fix+). A glnA glnII double mutant was a glutamine auxotroph (Gln-), lacked both GSI and GSII forms, but nevertheless induced normal Fix+ nodules. glnT insertion mutants were prototrophs, contained both GSI and GSII forms, grew normally on different N sources, and induced normal Fix+ nodules. glnII and glnT, but not glnA, expression in R. meliloti was regulated by the nitrogen-regulatory genes ntrA and ntrC and was repressed by rich N sources such as ammonium and glutamine.

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