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J Bacteriol. 1983 Jan;153(1):45-56.

Nitrogen fixation by Klebsiella pneumoniae is inhibited by certain multicopy hybrid nif plasmids.


In our studies of nif gene regulation, we have observed that certain hybrid nif plasmids drastically inhibit the expression of the chromosomal nif genes of Klebsiella pneumonia. Wild-type (Nif+) K. pneumoniae strains that acquire certain hybrid nif plasmids also acquire the Nif- phenotype; these strains lose 90 to 99% of all detectable nitrogen fixation activity and grow poorly (or not at all) on solid media with N2 as the sole nitrogen source. We describe experiments which defined this inhibition of the Nif+ phenotype by hybrid nif plasmids and identify and characterize four nif DNA regions associated with this inhibition. We show that plasmids carrying these nif regions could recombine with, but not complement, nif chromosomal mutations. Our results suggest that inhibition of the Nif+ phenotype will provide a useful bioassay for some of the factors that mediate nif gene expression.

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