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J Bacteriol. 1986 Dec;168(3):1075-86.

Assignment of symbiotic developmental phenotypes to common and specific nodulation (nod) genetic loci of Rhizobium meliloti.


Rhizobium meliloti nodulation (nod) genes required for specific infection and nodulation of alfalfa have been cloned. Transposon Tn5 mutagenesis defined three nod regions spanning 16 kilobases of the pSym megaplasmid. Genetic and cytological studies of 62 nodulation-defective mutants allowed the assignment of symbiotic developmental phenotypes to common and specific nod loci. Root hair curling was determined by both common (region I) and specific (region III) nod transcription units; locus IIIb (nodH gene) positively controlled curling on the homologous host alfalfa, whereas loci IIIa (nodFE) and IIIb (nodH) negatively controlled curling on heterologous hosts. Region I (nodABC) was required for bacterial penetration and infection thread initiation in shepherd's crooks, and the nodFE transcription unit controlled infection thread development within the alfalfa root hair. In contrast, induction of nodule organogenesis, which can be triggered from a distance, seemed to be controlled by common nodABC genes and not to require specific nod genes nodFE and nodH. Region II affected the efficiency of hair curling and infection thread formation.

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