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Rhizopines are nodule-specific compounds that confer an intraspecies competitive nodulation advantage to strains that can catabolize them. The rhizopine (3-O-methyl-scyllo-inosamine, 3-O-MSI) catabolic moc gene cluster mocCABRDE(F) in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae strain 1a is located on the Sym plasmid. MocCABR are homologous to the mocCABR gene products from Sinorhizobium meliloti. MocD and MocE contain motifs corresponding to a TOL-like oxygenase and a [2Fe-2S] Rieske-like ferredoxin, respectively. The mocF gene encodes a ferredoxin reductase that would complete the oxygenase system, but is not essential for rhizopine catabolism. We propose a rhizopine catabolic model whereby MocB transports rhizopine into the cell and MocDE and MocF (or a similar protein elsewhere in the genome), under the regulation of MocR, act in concert to form a ferredoxin oxygenase system that demethylates 3-O-MSI to form scyllo-inosamine (SI). MocA, an NAD(H)-dependent dehydrogenase, and MocC continue the catabolic process. Compounds formed then enter the inositol catabolic pathway.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Plant Microbe Interact

Publication Date





1057 - 1068


Amino Acid Sequence, Ferredoxins, Inositol, Models, Biological, Molecular Sequence Data, Multienzyme Complexes, Multigene Family, Nitrogen Fixation, Oxygenases, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid