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Nodule Development Induced by Mesorhizobium loti Mutant Strains Affected in Polysaccharide Synthesis

May 2005 , Volume 18 , Number  5
Pages  446 - 457

Alejandra L. D'Antuono , 1 Adriana Casabuono , 2 Alicia Couto , 2 Rodolfo A. Ugalde , 1 and Viviana C. Lepek 1

1Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas, INTECH, Universidad Nacional de General San Martín, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 2CIHIDECAR, Departamento de Química Orgánica, Facultad de Cs Exactas y Naturales, UBA, Argentina

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Accepted 10 January 2005.

The role of Mesorhizobium loti surface polysaccharides on the nodulation process is not yet fully understood. In this article, we describe the nodulation phenotype of mutants affected in the synthesis of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and β(1,2) cyclic glucan. M. loti lps β2 mutant produces LPS with reduced amount of O-antigen, whereas M. loti lps β1 mutant produces LPS totally devoid of O-antigen. Both genes are clustered in the chromosome. Based on amino acid sequence homology, LPS sugar composition, and enzymatic activity, we concluded that lps β2 codes for an enzyme involved in the transformation of dTDP-glucose into dTDP-rhamnose, the sugar donor of rhamnose for the synthesis of O-antigen. On the other hand, lps β1 codes for a glucosyl transferase involved in the biosynthesis of the O-antigen. Although LPS mutants elicited normal nodules, both show reduced competitiveness compared with the wild type. M. loti β(1-2) cyclic glucan synthase (cgs) mutant induces white, empty, ineffective pseudonodules in Lotus tenuis. Cgs mutant induces normal root hair curling but is unable to induce the formation of infection threads. M. loti cgs mutant was more sensitive to deoxycholate and displayed motility impairment compared with the wild-type strain. This pleiotropic effect depends on calcium concentration and temperature.

Additional keywords: epimerase/dehydratase family , glycosyl-transferases , LPS and β(1-2) cyclic glucan mutants .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society