DNA sequencing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays with lineage-specific primers were used to analyze the diversity of 276 isolates of Bradyrhizobium sp. nodule bacteria associated with 13 native legumes species in the northeastern United States, representing eight genera in six legume tribes. A PCR screen with two primer pairs in the rRNA region indicated that seven of the legume species were exclusively associated with strains having markers resembling Bradyrhizobium elkanii, while the remaining six host species harbored strains related to both B. elkanii and Bradyrhizobium japonicum. Sequence analysis of 22 isolates for portions of 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA yielded congruent phylogenetic trees and showed that isolates from different legume genera often shared similar or identical sequences. However, trees inferred from portions of two other genes (α-ketoglutarate dioxygenase gene (tfdA), the α-subunit of nitrogenase (nifD)) differed significantly from the rRNA phytogeny. Thus, for Bradyrhizobium populations in this region, lateral gene transfer events appear to have altered genealogical relationships of different portions of the genome. These results extend the number of likely cases of gene transfer between divergent taxa of Bradyrhizobium (from members of the B. elkanii lineage to the B. japonicum group) and suggest that transfers have also occurred among separate subgroups of the B. elkanii lineage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Molecular Biology