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Distinct Cell Surface Appendages Produced by Sinorhizobium fredii USDA257 and S. fredii USDA191, Cultivar-Specific and Nonspecific Symbionts of Soybean

Krishnan, Hari B., Natarajan, Savithiry S., Kim, Won-Seok
Applied and environmental microbiology 2011 v.77 no.17 pp. 6240
Bradyrhizobium, Ralstonia solanacearum, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Sinorhizobium fredii, Type III secretion system, appendages, desorption, fimbriae, flagellin, flagellum, flavonoids, flight, gel electrophoresis, landraces, lasers, mass spectrometry, nodulation, root nodules, soybeans, symbionts, transmission electron microscopy, zinc
Sinorhizobium fredii USDA257 and S. fredii USDA191 are fast-growing rhizobia that form nitrogen-fixing nodules on soybean roots. In contrast to USDA191, USDA257 exhibits cultivar specificity and can form nodules only on primitive soybean cultivars. In response to flavonoids released from soybean roots, these two rhizobia secrete nodulation outer proteins (Nop) to the extracellular milieu through a type III secretion system. In spite of the fact that Nops are known to regulate legume nodulation in a host-specific manner, very little is known about the differences in the compositions of Nops and surface appendages elaborated by USDA191 and USDA257. In this study we compared the Nop profiles of USDA191 and USDA257 by one-dimensional (1D) and 2D gel electrophoresis and identified several of these proteins by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem MS (LC-MS/MS). Examination of the surface appendages elaborated by these two strains of soybean symbionts by transmission electron microscopy revealed distinct differences in their morphologies. Even though the flagella produced by USDA191 and USDA257 were similar in their morphologies, they differed in their flagellin composition. USDA257 pili resembled long thin filaments, while USDA191 pili were short, rod shaped, and much thinner than the flagella. 2D gel electrophoresis of pilus-like appendages of USDA191 and USDA257 followed by mass spectrometry resulted in the identification of several of the Nops along with some proteins previously undetected in these strains. Some of the newly identified proteins show homology to putative zinc protease and a LabA-like protein from Bradyrhizobium sp. ORS278, fimbrial type 4 assembly proteins from Ralstonia solanacearum, and the type III effector Hrp-dependent protein from Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii.