Symbiotically defective histidine auxotrophs of Bradyrhizobium japonicum

Michael J. Sadowsky, Katalin Rostas, Prakash R. Sista, Howard Bussey, Desh Pal S. Verma

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Four histidine auxotrophs of Bradyrhizobium japonicum strain USDA 122 were isolated by random transposon Tn5 mutagenesis. These mutants arose from different, single transposition events as shown by the comparison of EcoRI and XhoI-generated Tn5 flanking sequences of genomic DNA. The mutants grew on minimal medium supplemented with l-histidine or l-histidinol but failed to grow with l-histidinol phosphate. While two of the muants were symbiotically defective and did not form nodules on Glycine max cvs. Lee and Peking and on Glycine soja, the other two mutants were symbiotically competent. Reversion to prototrophy occurred at a frequency of about 10-7 on growth medium without added antibiotics, but prototrophs could not be isolated from growth medium containing 200 μg/ml kanamycin and streptomycin. The prototrophic revertants formed nodules on all the soybean cultivars examined. When histidine was supplied to the plant growth medium, both nodulation deficient mutants formed effective symbioses. On histidine unamended plants, nodules were observed infrequently. Three classes of bacterial colonies were isolated from such infrequent nodules: class 1 were kanamycin resistant-auxotrophs; class 2 were kanamycin sensitive-prototrophs; and class 3 were kanamycin-sensitive auxotrophs. Our results suggest that two Tn5 insertion mutations in B. japonicum leading to histidine auxotrophy, affect nodulation in some way. These mutations are in regions that show no homology to the Rhizobium meliloti common nodulation genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-339
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1986

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Auxotrophy
  • Bradyrhizobium japonicum
  • Glycine
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Rhizobium
  • Root nodules
  • Soybean
  • Transposon mutagenesis


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