In Rhizobium meliloti strain 41 the existence of a second megaplasmid (pRme41c) with a molecular weight similar to the sym megaplasmid pRme41b was demonstrated. Derivatives of the wild-type strain carrying pRme41b or pRme41c tagged with Tn5 allowed the examination of the transfer ability of both megaplasmids. The introduction of megaplasmids into the wildtype R. meliloti was not detected, probably because of the action of plasmid genes coding for entry exclusion of the same type of plasmid. However, transmissibility of both megaplasmids was observed in matings with Nod- or Fix- pRme41b deletion mutant recipients and with Agrobacterium tumefaciens at frequencies of 10-6-10-8. Introduction of the megaplasmids into the R. meliloti recipients resulted in the loss of the same plasmid. On the other hand, pRme41b and pRme41c were compatible. From the extent of deletions in various Nod- and Fix- mutants a DNA region carrying genes probably involved in "surface exclusion" on pRme41b was located. This DNA region is about 50 kb distant from the nod genes and exhibits strong homology with a DNA segment of pRme41c. Symbiotic genes on pRme41c were not identified.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology