Thirty-three wild type strains of Rhodopseudomonas capsulata were examined for ability to engage in genetic recombination through mediation by “gene transfer agent” (GTA) particles. The genetic exchange assays were based on capacity of strains to produce or receive GTA required for restoration of photosynthetic growth competence to a non-photosynthetic “white” mutant or for acquisition of resistance to rifampicin. A majority of the strains could either produce or receive GTA, and it was demonstrated that the agent is species specific. Possible relations between GTA and bacteriophages or bacteriocins were investigated. Sixteen types of virulent phages active on Rps. capsulata were isolated and their host ranges determined. Tests for transduction by the phages gave uniformly negative results. The viruses showed strict species specificity, but there was no apparent correlation between capacity of the Rps. capsulata strains to donate or receive GTA and susceptibility to the phages. A comparable survey disclosed that most of the bacterial strains were sensitive to or capable of producing bacteriocins; the latter also appear to be unrelated to GTA activity. The collection of bacterial strains was also screened for detection of lysogenic properties. None of the isolates is a “true” lysogen, but phages were detected in cultures of two strains, which may be “phage carriers” or pseudolysogens.
Rhodopseudomonas capsulataGenetic recombinationGene transfer agentBacteriophagesBacteriocins