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J Bacteriol. 1998 Jun;180(11):2866-74.

Genes essential for nod factor production and nodulation are located on a symbiotic amplicon (AMPRtrCFN299pc60) in Rhizobium tropici.

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Centro de Investigación sobre Fijación de Nitrógeno, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.


Amplifiable DNA regions (amplicons) have been identified in the genome of Rhizobium etli. Here we report the isolation and molecular characterization of a symbiotic amplicon of Rhizobium tropici. To search for symbiotic amplicons, a cartridge containing a kanamycin resistance marker that responds to gene dosage and conditional origins of replication and transfer was inserted in the nodulation region of the symbiotic plasmid (pSym) of R. tropici CFN299. Derivatives harboring amplifications were selected by increasing the concentration of kanamycin in the cell culture. The amplified DNA region was mobilized into Escherichia coli and then into Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The 60-kb symbiotic amplicon, which we termed AMPRtrCFN299pc60, contains several nodulation and nitrogen fixation genes and is flanked by a novel insertion sequence ISRtr1. Amplification of AMPRtrCFN299pc60 through homologous recombination between ISRtr1 repeats increased the amount of Nod factors. Strikingly, the conjugal transfer of the amplicon into a plasmidless A. tumefaciens strain confers on the transconjugant the ability to produce R. tropici Nod factors and to nodulate Phaseolus vulgaris, indicating that R. tropici genes essential for the nodulation process are confined to an ampliable DNA region of the pSym.

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