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Mol Microbiol. 1993 Jun;8(6):1083-94.

The presence of a novel type of surface polysaccharide in Rhizobium meliloti requires a new fatty acid synthase-like gene cluster involved in symbiotic nodule development.

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Institute of Genetics, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged.


Bacterial exopolysaccharide (EPS) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) molecules have been shown to play important roles in plant-bacterium interactions. Here we have demonstrated that the fix-23 loci, which compensate for exo mutations during symbiotic nodule development, are involved in the production of a novel polysaccharide that is rich in 3-deoxy-D-manno-2-octulosonic acid (Kdo) but is not the classical LPS. This molecule is likely to be a surface antigen since antiserum to whole Rhizobium meliloti cells reacts strongly with it, and since mutations in fix-23 result in an inability to produce this polysaccharide and to bind bacteriophage 16-3. It is likely that this Kdo-rich polysaccharide is analogous to certain Escherichia coli K-antigens which are anchored to the membrane via a phospholipid moiety. DNA sequence analysis of one gene cluster of this region revealed that the predicted protein products of six genes exhibit a high degree of homology and similar organization to those of the rat fatty acid synthase multifunctional enzyme domains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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