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The Bradyrhizobium japonicum hsfA Gene Exhibits a Unique Developmental Expression Pattern in Cowpea Nodules

November 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  11
Pages  1,286 - 1,292

Hye-Sook Oh , 1 Ora Son , 1 Jong-Yoon Chun , 2 Gary Stacey , 3 Myung-Sok Lee , 1 Kyung-Hee Min , 1 Eun-Sook Song , 1 and Choong-III Cheon 1

1Department of Biological Science, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul; 2Ewha Women's University, Seoul, Korea; 3Center for Legume Research, Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, U.S.A.

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Accepted 18 July 2001.

The Bradyrhizobium japonicum host-specific fixation gene hsfA was identified as essential for nitrogen fixation on cowpea, but not required for nitrogen fixation on soybean or siratro. The DNA sequence of the hsfA promoter contains a consensus RpoN, -24/-12 binding site, suggesting the involvement of a regulatory protein that binds to an upstream activating sequence (UAS). To further explore the regulation of this interesting gene, serial deletions of the hsfA promoter were made and fused with the β-glucuronidase (GUS) gene. The HsfA3 deletion, containing 60 bp 5′ of the -24/-12 sequence, showed a similar level of GUS expression to that shown by the longest fusion construct (HsfA1), containing 464 bp of upstream sequence. In contrast, the HsfA4-GUS fusion, containing only 20 bp 5′ of the -24/-12 region, showed no GUS activity, delimiting the location of a putative UAS to a 40-bp region. During nodule development, GUS expression first appeared in nodules 12 days postinoculation (dpi) and reached a maximum level of expression in approximately 17-day-old nodules. By 28 dpi, HsfA-GUS expression had returned to a low, basal level. These data were consistent with the detection of hsfA mRNA by in situ hybridization in 17-day-old nodules, but not in 28-day-old nodules. In contrast to the stage-specific expression in cowpea, HsfA-GUS expression increased with nodule development in HsfA3-inoculated soybean. These data indicate that HsfA expression is regulated in cowpea in a unique developmental manner and that the DNA regulatory regions that control this expression are confined to a short, promoter-proximal region.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society