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Population Genomics Analysis of Legume Host Preference for Specific Rhizobial Genotypes in the Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae Symbioses

March 2015 , Volume 28 , Number  3
Pages  310 - 318

Beatriz Jorrin1 and Juan Imperial1,2

1Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Campus de Montegancedo, 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain and 2Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid


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Accepted 4 December 2014.

Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae establishes root nodule symbioses with several legume genera. Although most isolates are equally effective in establishing symbioses with all host genera, previous evidence suggests that hosts select specific rhizobial genotypes among those present in the soil. We have used population genomics to further investigate this observation. Pisum sativum, Lens culinaris, Vicia sativa, and V. faba plants were used to trap rhizobia from a well-characterized soil, and pooled genomic DNA from 100 isolates from each plant were sequenced. Sequence reads were aligned to the R. leguminosarum bv. viciae 3841 reference genome. High overall conservation of sequences was observed in all subpopulations, although several multigenic regions were absent from the soil population. A large fraction (16 to 22%) of sequence reads could not be recruited to the reference genome, suggesting that they represent sequences specific to that particular soil population. Although highly conserved, the 16S to 23S ribosomal RNA gene region presented single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) regarding the reference genome, but no striking differences could be found among plant-selected subpopulations. Plant-specific SNP patterns were, however, clearly observed within the nod gene cluster, supporting the existence of a plant preference for specific rhizobial genotypes. This was also shown after genome-wide analysis of SNP patterns.



© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society