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Nodule morphology, symbiotic specificity and association with unusual rhizobia are distinguishing features of the genus Listia within the southern African crotalarioid clade Lotononis s.l.

Ardley, J.K., Reeve, W.G., O'Hara, G.W., Yates, R.J., Dilworth, M.J. and Howieson, J.G. (2013) Nodule morphology, symbiotic specificity and association with unusual rhizobia are distinguishing features of the genus Listia within the southern African crotalarioid clade Lotononis s.l. Annals of Botany, 112 (1). pp. 1-15.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mct095
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Abstract

Background and Aims: The legume clade Lotononis sensu lato (s.l.; tribe Crotalarieae) comprises three genera: Listia, Leobordea and Lotononis sensu stricto (s.s.). Listia species are symbiotically specific and form lupinoid nodules with rhizobial species of Methylobacterium and Microvirga. This work investigated whether these symbiotic traits were confined to Listia by determining the ability of rhizobial strains isolated from species of Lotononis s.l. to nodulate Listia, Leobordea and Lotononis s.s. hosts and by examining the morphology and structure of the resulting nodules.

Methods: Rhizobia were characterized by sequencing their 16S rRNA and nodA genes. Nodulation and N2 fixation on eight taxonomically diverse Lotononis s.l. species were determined in glasshouse trials. Nodules of all hosts, and the process of infection and nodule initiation in Listia angolensis and Listia bainesii, were examined by light microscopy.

Key Results: Rhizobia associated with Lotononis s.l. were phylogenetically diverse. Leobordea and Lotononis s.s. isolates were most closely related to Bradyrhizobium spp., Ensifer meliloti, Mesorhizobium tianshanense and Methylobacterium nodulans. Listia angolensis formed effective nodules only with species of Microvirga. Listia bainesii nodulated only with pigmented Methylobacterium. Five lineages of nodA were found. Listia angolensis and L. bainesii formed lupinoid nodules, whereas nodules of Leobordea and Lotononis s.s. species were indeterminate. All effective nodules contained uniformly infected central tissue. Listia angolensis and L. bainesii nodule initials occurred on the border of the hypocotyl and along the tap root, and nodule primordia developed in the outer cortical layer. Neither root hair curling nor infection threads were seen.

Conclusions: Two specificity groups occur within Lotononis s.l.: Listia species are symbiotically specific, while species of Leobordea and Lotononis s.s. are generally promiscuous and interact with rhizobia of diverse chromosomal and symbiotic lineages. The seasonally waterlogged habitat of Listia species may favour the development of symbiotic specificity.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Rhizobium Studies
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: © The Author 2013
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/15808
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