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J Bacteriol. 1982 Jul;151(1):36-43.

Identification and mobilization by cointegrate formation of a nodulation plasmid in Rhizobium trifolii.


A nodulation plasmid, pRtr-514a, of molecular size 180 megadaltons (Mdal) was identified in Rhizobium trifolii strain NZP514. This plasmid was absent in both spontaneous and heat-cured Nod- derivatives of NZP514, and these strains were unable to induce root hair curling. The ability to nodulate clover was transferred from the wild-type strain to a Nod- derivatives, PN104, with the broad-host-range plasmid R68.45 (39 megadaltons) at a cotransfer frequency of about 4 X 10(-3). Most of the Nod+ transconjugants were resistant to kanamycin, tetracycline, and carbenicillin and had received a plasmid approximately 36 or 70 Mdal larger than pRtr514a but did not contain a plasmid of the size of R68.45, indicating that pRtr-514a was mobilized as a cointegrate plasmid containing either one or possibly two copies of R68.45. Use of these cointegrate-containing strains as donors in further crosses with the Nod- derivative strain PN118 resulted in high-frequency transfer of Nod+ (10(-3) to 10(-4), with cotransfer frequencies with kanamycin of up to 100%. Introduction of R68.45 into a derivative of NZP514 containing the broad-host-range plasmid pJP4 (52 Mdal) resulted in a high frequency of transconjugants carrying a cointegrate plasmid composed of pRtr-514a and pJP4. When used as donors to Nod- derivatives, such strains cotransferred Nod+ with kanamycin plus mercury at a frequency of 67%. The identification of stable cointegrates between pRtr-514a and the broad-host-range plasmids R68.45 and pJP4 should enable several genetic manipulations to be carried out with this nodulation plasmid, including the transfer of the plasmid to most gram-negative bacterial genera.

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