1887

Abstract

Species of the floating, freshwater fern form a well-characterized symbiotic association with the non-culturable cyanobacterium , which fixes nitrogen for the plant. However, several cyanobacterial strains have over the years been isolated and cultured from from all over the world. The genomes of 10 of these strains were sequenced and compared with each other, with other symbiotic cyanobacterial strains, and with similar strains that were not isolated from a symbiotic association. The 10 strains fell into three distinct groups: six strains were nearly identical to the non-symbiotic strain, () ATCC 29413; three were similar to the symbiotic strain, , and one, sp. 2RC, was most similar to non-symbiotic strains of . However, sp. 2RC was unusual because it has three sets of nitrogenase genes; it has complete gene clusters for two distinct Mo-nitrogenases and an alternative V-nitrogenase. Genes for Mo-nitrogenase, sugar transport, chemotaxis and pili characterized all the symbiotic strains. Several of the strains infected the liverwort , including ATCC 29413, which did not originate from but rather from a sewage pond. However, only sp. 2RC, which produced highly motile hormogonia, was capable of high-frequency infection of . Thus, some of these strains, which grow readily in the laboratory, may be useful in establishing novel symbiotic associations with other plants.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Directorate for Biological Sciences (Award MCB-1818298)
    • Principle Award Recipient: TeresaThiel
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2021-07-29
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