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A novel response-regulator is able to suppress the nodulation defect of a Bradyrhizobium japonicum nodW mutant


The two-component regulatory system Nod-VW of Bradyrhizobium japonicum is essential for the nodulation of the legume host plants Vigna radiata, V. unguiculata and Macroptilium atropurpureum. The NodV protein shares homology with the sensor-kinases, whereas the NodW protein is a member of the response-regulator class. We report here the identification of a new B. japonicum DNA region that is able to suppress the phenotypic defect of a nodW mutant, provided that this region is expressed from a foreign promoter. The minimal complementing region, which itself is not essential for nodulation in a nodW + background, consists of one gene designated nwsB (nodW-suppressor). The deduced amino acid sequence of the nwsB gene product shows a high degree of homology to NodW. The nwsB gene is preceded by a long open reading frame, nwsA, whose putative product appears to be a sensor-kinase. Downstream of nwsB, an open reading frame encoding a second putative response-regulator was identified. Interspecies hybridization revealed the presence of nwsAB-like DNA also in other Bradyrhizobium strains. Using nwsB′-′lacZ fusions, the nwsB gene was found to be expressed rather weakly in B. japonicum. This low level of expression is obviously not sufficient to compensate for a nodW defect, whereas strong overexpression of nwsB is a condition that leads to suppression of the nodW mutation.

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Correspondence to Michael Göttfert.

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Communicated by A. Kondorosi

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Grob, P., Michel, P., Hennecke, H. et al. A novel response-regulator is able to suppress the nodulation defect of a Bradyrhizobium japonicum nodW mutant. Molec. Gen. Genet. 241, 531–541 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00279895

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Key words

  • Nodulation
  • Two-component regulatory system
  • Cross-talk