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A Transcriptional Regulator of the LuxR-UhpA Family, FlcA, Controls Flocculation and Wheat Root Surface Colonization by Azospirillum brasilense Sp7

March 1998 , Volume 11 , Number  3
Pages  177 - 187

Lily Pereg-Gerk , 1 , 2 Annick Paquelin , 1 Pierre Gounon , 3 Ivan R. Kennedy , 2 and Claudine Elmerich 1

1Unité de Physiologie Cellulaire, URA 1300 CNRS, Département des Biotechnologies, Institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France; 2Sydney University Nitrogen Fixation Centre (SUNFix), Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; 3Station Centrale de Microscopie Electronique, Département de Physiopathologie, Institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

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Accepted 18 November 1997.

Genetic complementation of a spontaneous mutant, impaired in flocculation, Congo red binding, and colonization of root surface, led to the identification of a new regulatory gene in Azospirillum brasilense Sp7, designated flcA. The deduced amino acid sequence of flcA shared high similarity with a family of transcriptional activators of the LuxR-UhpA family. The most significant match was with the AgmR protein, an activator for glycerol metabolism in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Derivatives of Sp7 resulting from site-directed Tn5 mutagenesis in the flcA coding sequence were constructed by marker exchange. Characterization of the resulting mutant strains showed that flcA controls the production of capsular polysaccharides, the flocculation process in culture, and the colonization of the root surface of wheat. This study provides new information on the genetic control of the mechanism of plant root colonization by Azospirillum.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society