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Growth Temperature Regulation of Host-Specific Modifications of Rhizobial Lipo-Chitin Oligosaccharides: The Function of nodX Is Temperature Regulated

August 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  8
Pages  808 - 820

Maurien M. A. Olsthoorn , 1 Ellen Stokvis , 1 Johan Haverkamp , 1 Herman P. Spaink , 2 and Jane E. Thomas-Oates , 1 , 3

1Department of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research, Utrecht University, Sorbonnelaan 16, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands; 2Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands; 3Michael Barber Centre for Mass Spectrometry, U.M.I.S.T., P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, U.K.

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Accepted 13 April 2000.

Lipo-chitin oligosaccharides (LCOs) are usually produced and isolated for structural analysis from bacteria cultured under laboratory rather than field conditions. We have studied the influence of bacterial growth temperature on the LCO structures produced by different Rhizobium leguminosarum strains, using thin-layer chromatographic, high-performance liquid chromatographic, and mass spectrometric analyses. Wild-type R. leguminosarum bv. viciae A1 was shown to produce larger relative amounts of nodX-mediated, acetylated LCOs at 12°C than at 28°C, indicating that the activity of nodX (a gene encoding an LCO O-acetyl transferase) is temperature dependent. Interestingly, symbiotic resistance genes sym1 and sym2 found in primitive pea cultivars are also temperature sensitive, only being active at low temperatures, at which they block nodulation by R. leguminosarum bv. viciae strains lacking nodX. We therefore propose that the gene-for-gene relationship between plant and bacterium has a temperature-sensitive mechanism as an adaptation to environmental conditions. An R. leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain was also shown to produce larger relative amounts of nodX-mediated, acetylated LCOs at 12°C than at 28°C. The major components synthesized by the two strains are produced at both temperatures but in different relative amounts, while some minor components are only produced at one of the two temperatures.

Additional keywords: fast atom bombardment, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, nano-electrospray, Q-Tof.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society