Identification of a NodD repressible gene adjacent to nodM in Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae

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The nodFEL and nodMNT operons in Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae are transcribed in the same orientation and induced by NodD in response to flavonoids secreted by legumes. In the narrow intergenic region between nodFEL and nodMNT, we identified a small gene divergently transcribed from nodM to the 3′ end of nodL. Unlike the promoters upstream of nodF and nodM, the promoter of this gene is constitutively expressed. It appeared that its promoter might partially overlap with that of nodM and its expression was repressed by nodD. A deletion mutation was made and proteins produced by the mutant were compared with those by wild-type using 2D gel electrophoresis. Several protein differences were identified suggesting that this small gene influences the expression or stability of these proteins. However, the mutant nodulated its host plant (pea) normally.

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