Rhizobium tropiciteu genes involved in specific uptake of Phaseolus vulgaris bean-exudate compounds
Rhizobium tropici nodulates and fixes nitrogen in bean. In the R. tropici strain CFN299 we identified and characterized teu genes (tropiciexudate uptake) induced by bean root exudates, localized by insertion of a promoter-less Tn5-gusA1 transposon. teu genes are present on a plasmid of around 185 kb that is conserved in all R. tropici strains. Proteins encoded by teu genes show similarity to ABC transporters, specifically to ribose transport proteins. No induction of the teu genes was obtained by treatment with root exudates from any of several other plants tested, with the exception of Macroptilium atropurpureum, which is also a host plant for R. tropici. It appears that the inducing compound is characteristic of bean and closely related legumes. It is present in root exudates, but not in seeds. This compound is removed, presumably by metabolism, from the exudates by the majority of bean-nodulating rhizobia (such as R. etli, R. leguminosarum bv. phaseoli and R.␣giardinii). The principal inducing compound has not been identified, but some induction was obtained using trigonelline. The CFN299 strain seems to have an additional uptake system, as no phenotype is observed in two different mutants. R. tropici strain CIAT899, on the other hand, must have only one uptake system, since a mutant bearing an insertion in the teu genes could not remove the compound from the exudates as efficiently as the wild type, and it showed diminished nodulation competitiveness.
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