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The Succinoglycan Endoglycanase Encoded by exoK Is Required for Efficient Symbiosis of Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 with the Host Plants Medicago truncatula and Medicago sativa (Alfalfa)

September 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  9
Pages  1,089 - 1,105

Hajeewaka C. Mendis, Clothilde Queiroux, Tess E. Brewer, Olivia M. Davis, Brian K. Washburn, and Kathryn M. Jones

Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Biology Unit I, 230A, 89 Chieftain Way, Tallahassee 32306-4370, U.S.A.

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Accepted 30 April 2013.

The acidic polysaccharide succinoglycan produced by the nitrogen-fixing rhizobial symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 is required for this bacterium to invade the host plant Medicago truncatula and to efficiently invade the host plant M. sativa (alfalfa). The β-glucanase enzyme encoded by exoK has previously been demonstrated to cleave succinoglycan and participate in producing the low molecular weight form of this polysaccharide. Here, we show that exoK is required for efficient S. meliloti invasion of both M. truncatula and alfalfa. Deletion mutants of exoK have a substantial reduction in symbiotic productivity on both of these plant hosts. Insertion mutants of exoK have an even less productive symbiosis than the deletion mutants with the host M. truncatula that is caused by a secondary effect of the insertion itself, and may be due to a polar effect on the expression of the downstream exoLAMON genes.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society