Physical and genetic map of a Rhizobium meliloti nodulation gene region and nucleotide sequence of nodC

T. W. Jacobs, T. T. Egelhoff, S. R. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infection of alfalfa by the soil bacterium Rhizobium meliloti proceeds by deformation of root hairs and bacterial invasion of host tissue by way of an infection thread. We studied an 8.7-kilobase (kb) segment of the R. meliloti megaplasmid, which contains genes required for infection. Site-directed Tn5 mutagenesis was used to examine this fragment for nodulation genes. A total of 81 R. meliloti strains with mapped Tn5 insertions in the 8.7-kb fragment were evaluated for nodulation phenotype on alfalfa plants; 39 of the insertions defined a 3.5-kb segment containing nodulation functions. Of these 39 mutants, 37 were completely nodulation deficient (Nod-), and 2 at the extreme nif-distal end were leaky Nod-. Complementation analysis was performed by inoculating plants with strains carrying a genomic Tn5 at one location and a plasmid-borne Tn5 at another location in the 3.5-kb nodulation segment. Mutations near the right border of the fragment behaved as two distinct complementation groups. The segment in which these mutations are located was analyzed by DNA sequencing. Several open reading frames were found in this region, but the one most likely to function is 1,206 bases long, reading from left to right (nif distal to proximal) and spanning both mutation groups. The genetic behavior of this segment may be due either to the gene product having two functional domains or to a recombinational hot spot between the apparent complementation groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-476
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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