Ti- and cryptic-plasmid-borne virulence of wild-type Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain CNI5 isolated from chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev)
Rhizobium fredii is a fast-growing rhizobium isolated from the primitive Chinese soybean cultivar Peking and from the wild soybean Glycine soja. This rhizobium harbors nif genes on 150- to 200-megadalton plasmids. By passage on acridine orange plates, we obtained a mutant of R. fredii USDA 206 cured of the 197-megadalton plasmid (USDA 206C) which carries both nif and nod genes. This strain, however, has retained its symbiotic effectiveness. Probing EcoRI digests of wild-type and cured plasmid DNA with a 2.2-kilobase nif DH fragment from Rhizobium meliloti has shown four homologous fragments in the wild-type strain (4.2, 4.9, 10, and 11 kilobases) and two fragments in the cured strain (4.2 and 10 kilobases). EcoRI digests of total DNA show four major bands of homology (4.2, 4.9, 5.8, and 13 kilobases) in both the wild-type and cured strains. The presence of major bands of homology in the total DNA not present in the plasmid DNA indicated chromosomal nif genes. Probing of HindIII digests of total and plasmid DNA led to the same conclusion. Hybridization to the smaller plasmids of USDA 206 and USDA 206C showed the presence of nif genes on at least one of these plasmids, explaining the nif homology in the USDA 206C plasmid digests.