(1/328) Screening of free-living rhizospheric bacteria for their multiple plant growth promoting activities.

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are known to influence plant growth by various direct or indirect mechanisms. In search of efficient PGPR strains with multiple activities, a total of 72 bacterial isolates belonging to Azotobacter, fluorescent Pseudomonas, Mesorhizobium and Bacillus were isolated from different rhizospheric soil and plant root nodules in the vicinity of Aligarh. These test isolates were biochemically characterized. These isolates were screened in vitro for their plant growth promoting traits like production of indoleacetic acid (IAA), ammonia (NH(3)), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), siderophore, phosphate solubilization and antifungal activity. More than 80% of the isolates of Azotobacter, fluorescent Pseudomonas and Mesorhizobium ciceri produced IAA, whereas only 20% of Bacillus isolates was IAA producer. Solubilization of phosphate was commonly detected in the isolates of Bacillus (80%) followed by Azotobacter (74.47%), Pseudomonas (55.56%) and Mesorhizobium (16.67%). All test isolates could produce ammonia but none of the isolates hydrolyzed chitin. Siderophore production and antifungal activity of these isolates except Mesorhizobium were exhibited by 10-12.77% isolates. HCN production was more common trait of Pseudomonas (88.89%) and Bacillus (50%). On the basis of multiple plant growth promoting activities, eleven bacterial isolates (seven Azotobacter, three Pseudomonas and one Bacillus) were evaluated for their quantitative IAA production, and broad-spectrum (active against three test fungi) antifungal activity. Almost at all concentration of tryptophan (50-500 microg/ml), IAA production was highest in the Pseudomonas followed by Azotobacter and Bacillus isolates. Azotobacter isolates (AZT(3), AZT(13), AZT(23)), Pseudomonas (Ps(5)) and Bacillus (B(1)) showed broad-spectrum antifungal activity on Muller-Hinton medium against Aspergillus, one or more species of Fusarium and Rhizoctonia bataticola. Further evaluation of the isolates exhibiting multiple plant growth promoting (PGP) traits on soil-plant system is needed to uncover their efficacy as effective PGPR.  (+info)

(2/328) Silencing the flavonoid pathway in Medicago truncatula inhibits root nodule formation and prevents auxin transport regulation by rhizobia.

Legumes form symbioses with rhizobia, which initiate the development of a new plant organ, the nodule. Flavonoids have long been hypothesized to regulate nodule development through their action as auxin transport inhibitors, but genetic proof has been missing. To test this hypothesis, we used RNA interference to silence chalcone synthase (CHS), the enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step of the flavonoid pathway, in Medicago truncatula. Agrobacterium rhizogenes transformation was used to create hairy roots that showed strongly reduced CHS transcript levels and reduced levels of flavonoids in silenced roots. Flavonoid-deficient roots were unable to initiate nodules, even though normal root hair curling was observed. Nodule formation and flavonoid accumulation could be rescued by supplementation of plants with the precursor flavonoids naringenin and liquiritigenin. The flavonoid-deficient roots showed increased auxin transport compared with control roots. Inoculation with rhizobia reduced auxin transport in control roots after 24 h, similar to the action of the auxin transport inhibitor N-(1-naphthyl)phthalamic acid (NPA). Rhizobia were unable to reduce auxin transport in flavonoid-deficient roots, even though NPA inhibited auxin transport. Our results present genetic evidence that root flavonoids are necessary for nodule initiation in M. truncatula and suggest that they act as auxin transport regulators.  (+info)

(3/328) Nitrogen fixation by white lupin under phosphorus deficiency.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: White lupin is highly adapted to growth in a low-P environment. The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether white lupin grown under P-stress has adaptations in nodulation and N2 fixation that facilitate continued functioning. METHODS: Nodulated plants were grown in silica sand supplied with N-free nutrient solution containing 0 to 0.5 mm P. At 21 and 37 d after inoculation (DAI) growth, nodulation, P and N concentration, N2 fixation (15N2 uptake and H2 evolution), root/nodule net CO2 evolution and CO2 fixation (14CO2 uptake) were measured. Furthermore, at 21 DAI in-vitro activities and transcript abundance of key enzymes of the C and N metabolism in nodules were determined. Moreover, nodulation in cluster root zones was evaluated. KEY RESULTS: Treatment without P led to a lower P concentration in shoots, roots, and nodules. In both treatments, with or without P, the P concentration in nodules was greater than that in the other organs. At 21 DAI nitrogen fixation rates did not differ between treatments and the plants displayed no symptoms of P or N deficiency on their shoots. Although nodule number at 21 DAI increased in response to P-deficiency, total nodule mass remained constant. Increased nodule number in P-deficient plants was associated with cluster root formation. A higher root/nodule CO2 fixation in the treatment without P led to a lower net CO2 release per unit fixed N, although the total CO2 released per unit fixed N was higher in the treatment without P. The higher CO2 fixation was correlated with increased transcript abundance and enzyme activities of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and malate dehydrogenase in nodules. Between 21 and 37 DAI, shoots of plants grown without P developed symptoms of N- and P-deficiency. By 37 DAI the P concentration had decreased in all organs of the plants treated with no P. At 37 DAI, nitrogen fixation in the treatment without P had almost ceased. CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced nodulation in cluster root zones and increased potential for organic acid production in root nodules appear to contribute to white lupin's resilience to P-deficiency.  (+info)

(4/328) Siderophore cross-utilization amongst nodule isolates of the cowpea miscellany group and its effect on plant growth in the presence of antagonistic organisms.

Nodule isolates from the cowpea miscellany group of legumes produced varying concentrations of catecholate and hydroxamate types of siderophores under iron-limiting conditions. The nodule isolates differed with respect to siderophore cross-utilizing abilities; some were proficient at using siderophores of other nodule isolates (homologous siderophores) while others could utilize siderophores produced by other rhizospheric bacteria (heterologous siderophores). Utilization of siderophore of rhizospheric bacterium PsB, a plant pathogen, benefited the nodule isolate G11 in terms of growth under iron-limiting laboratory conditions, while PsB was clearly inhibited in the presence of G11. Plate assays showed that siderophore of G11 could withhold iron from PsB and hence PsB was inhibited in the presence of G11. Isolates G11 and PsB when applied simultaneously to peanut seedlings under sterile soil conditions, provided a clear advantage to the plant in terms of reduction in the inhibitory effect of PsB. The count of the nodule isolate G11 increased in the soil when co-inoculated with PsB, as compared to when inoculated alone. Thus, the increased growth of the plant can be attributed to the iron sequestration and plant growth promoting properties of G11. The isolate G11 could utilize the siderophores produced by many other rhizospheric isolates while the siderophore of G11 was not being utilized by these rhizospheric isolates.  (+info)

(5/328) The Sinorhizobium medicae WSM419 lpiA gene is transcriptionally activated by FsrR and required to enhance survival in lethal acid conditions.

Sinorhizobium medicae WR101 was identified as a mutant of WSM419 that contained a minitransposon-induced transcriptional gusA fusion activated at least 20-fold at pH 5.7. The expression of this fusion in moderately acid conditions was dependent on the calcium concentration; increasing the calcium concentration to enhance cell growth and survival in acid conditions decreased the expression of the fusion. A gene region containing the gusA fusion was sequenced, revealing five S. medicae genes: tcsA, tcrA, fsrR, lpiA and acvB. The gusA reporter in WR101 was fused to lpiA, which encodes a putative transmembrane protein also found in other Alphaproteobacteria such as Sinorhizobium meliloti, Rhizobium tropici and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. As LpiA has partial sequence similarity to the lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol (LPG) synthetase FmtC/MprF from Staphylococcus aureus, membrane lipid compositions of S. medicae strains were analysed. Cells cultured under neutral or acidic growth conditions did not induce any detectable LPG and therefore this lipid cannot be a major constituent of S. medicae membranes. Expression studies in S. medicae localized the acid-activated lpiA promoter within a 372 bp region upstream of the start codon. The acid-activated transcription of lpiA required the fused sensor-regulator product of the fsrR gene, because expression of lpiA was severely reduced in an S. medicae fsrR mutant. S. meliloti strain 1021 does not contain fsrR and acid-activated expression of the lpiA-gusA fusion did not occur in this species. Although acid-activated lpiA transcription was not required for cell growth, its expression was crucial in enhancing the viability of cells subsequently exposed to lethal acid (pH 4.5) conditions.  (+info)

(6/328) Negotiation of mutualism: rhizobia and legumes.

The evolution and persistence of biological cooperation have been an important puzzle in evolutionary theory. Here, we suggest a new approach based on bargaining theory to tackle the question. We present a mechanistic model for negotiation of benefits between a nitrogen-fixing nodule and a legume plant. To that end, we first derive growth rates for the nodule and plant from metabolic models of each as a function of material fluxes between them. We use these growth rates as pay-off functions in the negotiation process, which is analogous to collective bargaining between a firm and a workers' union. Our model predicts that negotiations lead to the Nash bargaining solution, maximizing the product of players' pay-offs. This work introduces elements of cooperative game theory into the field of mutualistic interactions. In the discussion of the paper, we argue for the benefits of such an approach in studying the question of biological cooperation.  (+info)

(7/328) Lotus japonicus nodulation requires two GRAS domain regulators, one of which is functionally conserved in a non-legume.

A new nodulation-defective mutant of Lotus japonicus does not initiate nodule cortical cell division in response to Mesorhizobium loti, but induces root hair deformation, Nod factor-induced calcium spiking, and mycorrhization. This phenotype, together with mapping data, suggested that the mutation could be in the ortholog of the Medicago truncatula NSP1 gene (MtNSP1). The sequence of the orthologous gene (LjNSP1) in the L. japonicus mutant (Ljnsp1-1) revealed a mutation causing a premature stop resulting in loss of the C-terminal 23 amino acids. We also sequenced the NSP2 gene from L. japonicus (LjNSP2). A mutant (Ljnsp2-3) with a premature stop codon was identified by TILLING showing a similar phenotype to Ljnsp1-1. Both LjNSP1 and LjNSP2 are predicted GRAS (GAI, RGA, SCR) domain transcriptional regulators. Transcript steady-state levels of LjNSP1 and LjNSP2 initially decreased and then increased following infection by M. loti. In hairy root transformations, LjNSP1 and MtNSP1 complemented both Mtnsp1-1 and Ljnsp1-1 mutants, demonstrating that these orthologous proteins have a conserved biochemical function. A Nicotiana benthamiana NSP1-like gene (NbNSP1) was shown to restore nodule formation in both Ljnsp1-1 and Mtnsp1-1 mutants, indicating that NSP1 regulators from legumes and non-legumes can propagate the Nod factor-induced signal, activating appropriate downstream targets. The L. japonicus nodules complemented with NbNSP1 contained some cells with abnormal bacteroids and could fix nitrogen. However, the NbNSP1-complemented M. truncatula nodules did not fix nitrogen and contained very few bacteria released from infection threads. These observations suggest that NSP1 is also involved in infection, bacterial release, and normal bacteroid formation in nodule cells.  (+info)

(8/328) Nodulation and plant-growth promotion by methylotrophic bacteria isolated from tropical legumes.

The nitrogen fixing methylotrophic bacteria were isolated from the nodules of tropical legumes. Two isolates CMCJ317 and CMSA322 isolated from Crotalaria juncea and Sesbania aculeata possessing high nitrogenase activities under pure culture conditions and able to form nodules under inoculated conditions were further characterized. The biochemical characteristics revealed their close relationship with Methylobacterium nodulans type strain ORS2060. The PCR amplification of nodA and mxaF genes showed the expected 584 and 555 bp products, respectively, similar to M. nodulans ORS2060 and digestion with restriction enzymes revealed that the two isolates differed. The strains showed significantly higher nitrogenase activity and also improved nodulation and shoot nitrogen of the plants when inoculated to Macroptilum atropurpureum. CMCJ317 and CMSA322 formed nodules on C. juncea and M. atropurpureum under green house conditions and also significantly increased the nitrogen concentration in shoots. These findings show that the ability to establish symbiosis with legumes is more widespread in Methylobacterium.  (+info)