1887

Abstract

The soil bacterium , a nitrogen-fixing symbiont of legume plants, is exposed to numerous stress conditions in nature, some of which cause the formation of harmful DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In particular, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the reactive nitrogen species (RNS) produced during symbiosis, and the desiccation occurring in dry soils, are conditions which induce DSBs. Two major systems of DSB repair are known in : homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). However, their role in the resistance to ROS, RNS and desiccation has never been examined in this bacterial species, and the importance of DSB repair in the symbiotic interaction has not been properly evaluated. Here, we constructed strains deficient in HR (by deleting the gene) or in NHEJ (by deleting the four genes) or both. Interestingly, we observed that and/or genes are involved in resistance to ROS and RNS. Nevertheless, an strain deficient in both HR and NHEJ was not altered in its ability to establish and maintain an efficient nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with , showing that rhizobial DSB repair is not essential for this process. This result suggests either that DSB formation in is efficiently prevented during symbiosis or that DSBs are not detrimental for symbiosis efficiency. In contrast, we found for the first time that both and genes are involved in resistance to desiccation, suggesting that DSB repair could be important for rhizobium persistence in the soil.

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2017-03-01
2020-01-21
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