Wilbert A. T.
Anton A. N.
Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands
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Accepted 4 September 1998.
Mutants of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae bacteria that are affected in the biosynthesis of exopolysaccharides (EPS) are unable to effectively nodulate their host plants. By studying defined mutants, we show that R. legumi-nosarum bv. viciae strains require EPS for formation of infection threads in Vicia sativa (vetch) as well as for efficient induction of tight root hair curling. Results of coinoculation experiments with the EPS-deficient pssD111 mutant of R. leguminosarum bv. viciae in combination with heterologous EPS-producing strains indicated that vetch has certain structural requirements for rhizobial EPS to function in symbiosis. We hypothesize that EPS accelerates root hair curling and infection to such an extent that rhizobial root penetration precedes a plant defense response.
© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society