Chemotaxis of Rhizobium meliloti to the plant flavone luteolin requires functional nodulation genes.

G. Caetano-Anollés, D. K. Crist-Estes, W. D. Bauer

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Luteolin is a phenolic compound from plants that acts as a potent and specific inducer of nodABC gene expression in Rhizobium meliloti. We have found that R. meliloti RCR2011 exhibits positive chemotaxis towards luteolin. A maximum chemotactic response was observed at 10(-8) M. Two closely related flavonoids, naringenin and apigenin, were not chemoattractants. The presence of naringenin but not apigenin abolished chemotaxis of R. meliloti towards luteolin. A large deletion in the nif-nod region of the symbiotic megaplasmid eliminated all chemotactic response to luteolin but did not affect general chemotaxis, as indicated by swarm size on semisoft agar plates and chemotaxis towards proline in capillary tubes. Transposon Tn5 mutations in nodD, nodA, or nodC selectively abolished the chemotactic response of R. meliloti to luteolin. Agrobacterium tumefaciens GMI9050, a derivative of the C58 wild type lacking a Ti plasmid, responded chemotactically to 10(-8) M luteolin. The introduction of a 290-kilobase nif-nod-containing sequence of DNA from R. meliloti into A. tumefaciens GMI9050 enabled the recipient to respond to luteolin at concentrations peaking at 10(-6) M as well as at concentrations peaking at 10(-8) M. The response of A. tumefaciens GMI9050 to luteolin was also abolished by the presence of naringenin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3164-3169
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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