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Crespo-Rivas, Juan C.; Guefrachi, Ibtissem; Mok, Kenny C.; Villaecija-Aguilar, Jose A.; Acosta-Jurado, Sebastian; Pierre, Olivier; Ruiz-Sainz, Jose E.; Taga, Michiko E.; Mergaert, Peter and Vinardell, Jose M. (2016): Sinorhizobium frediiHH103 bacteroids are not terminally differentiated and show altered O-antigen in nodules of the Inverted Repeat-Lacking Clade legume Glycyrrhiza uralensis. In: Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 18, No. 8: pp. 2392-2404

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In rhizobial species that nodulate inverted repeat-lacking clade (IRLC) legumes, such as the interaction between Sinorhizobium meliloti and Medicago, bacteroid differentiation is driven by an endoreduplication event that is induced by host nodule-specific cysteine rich (NCR) antimicrobial peptides and requires the participation of the bacterial protein BacA. We have studied bacteroid differentiation of Sinorhizobium frediiHH103 in three host plants: Glycine max, Cajanus cajan and the IRLC legume Glycyrrhiza uralensis. Flow cytometry, microscopy analyses and viability studies of bacteroids as well as confocal microscopy studies carried out in nodules showed that S. fredii HH103 bacteroids, regardless of the host plant, had deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) contents, cellular sizes and survival rates similar to those of free-living bacteria. Contrary to S. meliloti, S. frediiHH103 showed little or no sensitivity to MedicagoNCR247 and NCR335 peptides. Inactivation of S. frediiHH103 bacA neither affected symbiosis with Glycyrrhiza nor increased bacterial sensitivity to MedicagoNCRs. Finally, HH103 bacteroids isolated from Glycyrrhiza, but not those isolated from Cajanus or Glycine, showed an altered lipopolysaccharide. Our studies indicate that, in contrast to the S. meliloti-Medicago model symbiosis, bacteroids in the S. frediiHH103-Glycyrrhiza symbiosis do not undergo NCR-induced and bacA-dependent terminal differentiation.

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