Bacterioferritin comigratory protein is important in hydrogen peroxide resistance, nodulation, and nitrogen fixation in Azorhizobium caulinodans

  • Xiaomeng Liu
  • Wei Qiu
  • Bei Rao
  • Yajun Cao
  • Xingxing Fang
  • Juan Yang
  • Gaofei JiangEmail author
  • Zengtao ZhongEmail author
  • Jun Zhu
Original Paper


Reactive oxygen species are not only harmful for rhizobia but also required for the establishment of symbiotic interactions between rhizobia and their legume hosts. In this work, we first investigated the preliminary role of the bacterioferritin comigratory protein (BCP), a member of the peroxiredoxin family, in the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Azorhizobium caulinodans. Our data revealed that the bcp-deficient strain of A. caulinodans displayed an increased sensitivity to inorganic hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) but not to two organic peroxides in a growth-phase-dependent manner. Meanwhile, BCP was found to be involved in catalase activity under relatively low H2O2 conditions. Furthermore, nodulation and N2 fixation were significantly impaired by mutation of the bcp gene in A. caulinodans. Our work initially documented the importance of BCP in the bacterial defence against H2O2 in the free-living stage of rhizobia and during their symbiotic interactions with legumes. Molecular signalling in vivo is required to decipher the holistic functions of BCP in A. caulinodans as well as in other rhizobia.


Azorhizobium caulinodans ROS bcp Nodulation N2 fixing 



This study was supported by the 973 project (2015CB150600), National Nature Science Foundation of China (31770096, 31470202) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (KYZ201317).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

203_2019_1654_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (88 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1. Effect of BCP on root nodule formation and nitrogenase activity. (A) Number of root nodules on S. rostrata formed by the WT and Δbcp strains. (B) Nitrogen fixation activities of root nodules. Number of stem nodules on S. rostrata formed by WT and Δbcp strains. (C) Stationary cultures of wild type (WT) and Δbcp strains were inoculated on the root of S. rostrata. Nitrogen fixation activity was measured at 5 weeks post inoculation. Data are the means ± sds of three independent experiments. *: P < 0.05; ns: no significant difference (t-test) (PPTX 88 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, College of Life SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Jiangsu Provincial Key Lab for Organic Solid Waste Utilization, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Solid Organic Waste Resource Utilization, National Engineering Research Center for Organic-based Fertilizers, Postdoctoral Station of Agricultural Resources and EnvironmentNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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