Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: To form nitrogen-fixing nodules on pea roots, Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae must be competitive in the rhizosphere. Our aim was to identify genes important for rhizosphere fitness. METHODS: Signature-tagged mutants were screened using microarrays to identify mutants reduced for growth in pea rhizospheres. Candidate mutants were assessed relative to controls for growth in minimal medium, growth in pea rhizospheres and for infection of peas in mixed inoculants. Mutated genes were identified by DNA sequencing and confirmed by transduction. RESULTS: Of 5508 signature-tagged mutants, microarrays implicated 50 as having decreased rhizosphere fitness. Growth tests identified six mutants with rhizosphere-specific phenotypes. The mutation in one of the genes (araE) was in an arabinose catabolism operon and blocked growth on arabinose. The mutation in another gene (pcaM), encoding a predicted solute binding protein for protocatechuate and hydroxybenzoate uptake, decreased growth on protocatechuate. Both mutants were decreased for nodule infection competitiveness with mixed inoculants, but nodulated peas normally when inoculated alone. Other mutants with similar phenotypes had mutations predicted to affect secondary metabolism. CONCLUSIONS: Catabolism of arabinose and protocatechuate in the pea rhizosphere is important for competitiveness of R.l. viciae. Other genes predicted to be involved in secondary metabolism are also important.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s11104-015-2389-5

Type

Journal article

Journal

Plant Soil

Volume

390

Pages

251 - 264

Keywords

Competitive nodule infection, Legume nodulation, Pisum, Rhizosphere fitness