Regions of the Rhizobium meliloti nodulation genes from the symbiotic plasmid were transferred to Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Rhizobium trifolii by conjugation. The A. tumefaciens and R. trifolii transconjugants were unable to elicit curling of alfalfa root hairs, but were able to induce nodule development at a low frequency. These were judged to be genuine nodules on the basis of cytological and developmental criteria. Like genuine alfalfa nodules, the nodules were initiated from divisions of the inner root cortical cells. They developed a distally positioned meristem and several peripheral vascular bundles. An endodermis separated the inner tissues of the nodule from the surrounding cortex. No infection threads were found to penetrate either root hairs or the nodule cells. Bacteria were found only in intercellular spaces. Thus, alfalfa nodules induced by A. tumefaciens and R. trifolii transconjugants carrying small nodulation clones of R. meliloti were completely devoid of intracellular bacteria. When these strains were inoculated onto white clover roots, small nodule-like protrusions developed that, when examined cytologically, were found to more closely resemble roots than nodules. Although the meristem was broadened and lacked a root cap, the protrusions had a central vascular bundle and other rootlike features. Our results suggest that morphogenesis of alfalfa root nodules can be uncoupled from infection thread formation. The genes encoded in the 8.7-kilobase fragment are sufficient in A. tumefaciens or R. trifolii backgrounds for nodule morphogenesis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of bacteriology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1985|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology