Project description:Rhizobia are a paraphyletic group of soil-borne bacteria that induce nodule organogenesis in legume roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen for plant growth. In non-leguminous plants, species from the Rhizobiales order define a core lineage of the plant microbiota, suggesting additional functional interactions with plant hosts. In this work, genome analyses of 1,314 Rhizobiales isolates along with amplicon studies of the root microbiota reveal the evolutionary history of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis in this bacterial order. Key symbiosis genes were acquired multiple times, and the most recent common ancestor could colonize roots of a broad host range. In addition, root growth promotion is a characteristic trait of Rhizobiales in Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas interference with plant immunity constitutes a separate, strain-specific phenotype of root commensal Alphaproteobacteria. Additional studies with a tripartite gnotobiotic plant system reveal that these traits operate in a modular fashion and thus might be relevant to microbial homeostasis in healthy roots.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the rhizobia, a group of symbiotic Gram-negative soil bacteria, RpoN (sigma54, sigmaN, NtrA) is best known as the sigma factor enabling transcription of the nitrogen fixation genes. Recent reports, however, demonstrate the involvement of RpoN in other symbiotic functions, although no large-scale effort has yet been undertaken to unravel the RpoN-regulon in rhizobia. We screened two complete rhizobial genomes (Mesorhizobium loti, Sinorhizobium meliloti) and four symbiotic regions (Rhizobium etli, Rhizobium sp. NGR234, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, M. loti) for the presence of the highly conserved RpoN-binding sites. A comparison was also made with two closely related non-symbiotic members of the Rhizobiales (Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Brucella melitensis). RESULTS:A highly specific weight-matrix-based screening method was applied to predict members of the RpoN-regulon, which were stored in a highly annotated and manually curated dataset. Possible enhancer-binding proteins (EBPs) controlling the expression of RpoN-dependent genes were predicted with a profile hidden Markov model. CONCLUSIONS:The methodology used to predict RpoN-binding sites proved highly effective as nearly all known RpoN-controlled genes were identified. In addition, many new RpoN-dependent functions were found. The dependency of several of these diverse functions on RpoN seems species-specific. Around 30% of the identified genes are hypothetical. Rhizobia appear to have recruited RpoN for symbiotic processes, whereas the role of RpoN in A. tumefaciens and B. melitensis remains largely to be elucidated. All species screened possess at least one uncharacterized EBP as well as the usual ones. Lastly, RpoN could significantly broaden its working range by direct interfering with the binding of regulatory proteins to the promoter DNA.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Species belonging to the Rhizobiales are intriguing and extensively researched for including both bacteria with the ability to fix nitrogen when in symbiosis with leguminous plants and pathogenic bacteria to animals and plants. Similarities between the strategies adopted by pathogenic and symbiotic Rhizobiales have been described, as well as high variability related to events of horizontal gene transfer. Although it is well known that chromosomal rearrangements, mutations and horizontal gene transfer influence the dynamics of bacterial genomes, in Rhizobiales, the scenario that determine pathogenic or symbiotic lifestyle are not clear and there are very few studies of comparative genomic between these classes of prokaryotic microorganisms trying to delineate the evolutionary characterization of symbiosis and pathogenesis. RESULTS: Non-symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria and bacteria involved in bioremediation closer to symbionts and pathogens in study may assist in the origin and ancestry genes and the gene flow occurring in Rhizobiales. The genomic comparisons of 19 species of Rhizobiales, including nitrogen-fixing, bioremediators and pathogens resulted in 33 common clusters to biological nitrogen fixation and pathogenesis, 15 clusters exclusive to all nitrogen-fixing bacteria and bacteria involved in bioremediation, 13 clusters found in only some nitrogen-fixing and bioremediation bacteria, 01 cluster exclusive to some symbionts, and 01 cluster found only in some pathogens analyzed. In BBH performed to all strains studied, 77 common genes were obtained, 17 of which were related to biological nitrogen fixation and pathogenesis. Phylogenetic reconstructions for Fix, Nif, Nod, Vir, and Trb showed possible horizontal gene transfer events, grouping species of different phenotypes. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of symbiotic and virulence genes in both pathogens and symbionts does not seem to be the only determinant factor for lifestyle evolution in these microorganisms, although they may act in common stages of host infection. The phylogenetic analysis for many distinct operons involved in these processes emphasizes the relevance of horizontal gene transfer events in the symbiotic and pathogenic similarity.
Project description:Elongation of many rod-shaped bacteria occurs by peptidoglycan synthesis at discrete foci along the sidewall of the cells. However, within the Rhizobiales, there are many budding bacteria, in which new cell growth is constrained to a specific region. The phylogeny of the Rhizobiales indicates that this mode of zonal growth may be ancestral. We demonstrate that the rod-shaped bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens grows unidirectionally from the new pole generated after cell division and has an atypical peptidoglycan composition. Polar growth occurs under all conditions tested, including when cells are attached to a plant root and under conditions that induce virulence. Finally, we show that polar growth also occurs in the closely related bacteria Sinorhizobium meliloti, Brucella abortus, and Ochrobactrum anthropi. We find that unipolar growth is an ancestral and conserved trait among the Rhizobiales, which includes important mutualists and pathogens of plants and animals.
Project description:The stabilization of host-symbiont mutualism against the emergence of parasitic individuals is pivotal to the evolution of cooperation. One of the most famous symbioses occurs between legumes and their colonizing rhizobia, in which rhizobia extract nutrients (or benefits) from legume plants while supplying them with nitrogen resources produced by nitrogen fixation (or costs). Natural environments, however, are widely populated by ineffective rhizobia that extract benefits without paying costs and thus proliferate more efficiently than nitrogen-fixing cooperators. How and why this mutualism becomes stabilized and evolutionarily persists has been extensively discussed. To better understand the evolutionary dynamics of this symbiosis system, we construct a simple model based on the continuous snowdrift game with multiple interacting players. We investigate the model using adaptive dynamics and numerical simulations. We find that symbiotic evolution depends on the cost-benefit balance, and that cheaters widely emerge when the cost and benefit are similar in strength. In this scenario, the persistence of the symbiotic system is compatible with the presence of cheaters. This result suggests that the symbiotic relationship is robust to the emergence of cheaters, and may explain the prevalence of cheating rhizobia in nature. In addition, various stabilizing mechanisms, such as partner fidelity feedback, partner choice, and host sanction, can reinforce the symbiotic relationship by affecting the fitness of symbionts in various ways. This result suggests that the symbiotic relationship is cooperatively stabilized by various mechanisms. In addition, mixed nodule populations are thought to encourage cheater emergence, but our model predicts that, in certain situations, cheaters can disappear from such populations. These findings provide a theoretical basis of the evolutionary dynamics of legume-rhizobia symbioses, which is extendable to other single-host, multiple-colonizer systems.
Project description:The ubiquitous cytoplasmic membrane copper transporting P1B-1 and P1B-3 -type ATPases pump out Cu+ and Cu2+ , respectively, to prevent cytoplasmic accumulation and avoid toxicity. The presence of five copies of Cu-ATPases in the symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria Sinorhizobium meliloti is remarkable; it is the largest number of Cu+ -transporters in a bacterial genome reported to date. Since the prevalence of multiple Cu-ATPases in members of the Rhizobiales order is unknown, we performed an in silico analysis to understand the occurrence, diversity and evolution of Cu+ -ATPases in members of the Rhizobiales order. Multiple copies of Cu-ATPase coding genes (2-8) were detected in 45 of the 53 analyzed genomes. The diversity inferred from a maximum-likelihood (ML) phylogenetic analysis classified Cu-ATPases into four monophyletic groups. Each group contained additional subtypes, based on the presence of conserved motifs. This novel phylogeny redefines the current classification, where they are divided into two subtypes (P1B-1 and P1B-3 ). Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) as well as the evolutionary dynamic of plasmid-borne genes may have played an important role in the functional diversification of Cu-ATPases. Homologous cytoplasmic and periplasmic Cu+ -chaperones, CopZ, and CusF, that integrate a CopZ-CopA-CusF tripartite efflux system in gamma-proteobacteria and archeae, were found in 19 of the 53 surveyed genomes of the Rhizobiales. This result strongly suggests a high divergence of CopZ and CusF homologs, or the existence of unexplored proteins involved in cellular copper transport.
Project description:Both bacterial symbionts and pathogens rely on their host-sensing mechanisms to activate the biosynthetic pathways necessary for their invasion into host cells. The Gram-negative bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti relies on its RSI (ExoR-ExoS-ChvI) Invasion Switch to turn on the production of succinoglycan, an exopolysaccharide required for its host invasion. Recent whole-genome sequencing efforts have uncovered putative components of RSI-like invasion switches in many other symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria. To explore the possibility of the existence of a common invasion switch, we have conducted a phylogenomic survey of orthologous ExoR, ExoS, and ChvI tripartite sets in more than ninety proteobacterial genomes. Our analyses suggest that functional orthologs of the RSI invasion switch co-exist in Rhizobiales, an order characterized by numerous invasive species, but not in the order's close relatives. Phylogenomic analyses and reconstruction of orthologous sets of the three proteins in Alphaproteobacteria confirm Rhizobiales-specific gene synteny and congruent RSI evolutionary histories. Evolutionary analyses further revealed site-specific substitutions correlated specifically to either animal-bacteria or plant-bacteria associations. Lineage restricted conservation of any one specialized gene is in itself an indication of species adaptation. However, the orthologous phylogenetic co-occurrence of all interacting partners within this single signaling pathway strongly suggests that the development of the RSI switch was a key adaptive mechanism. The RSI invasion switch, originally found in S. meliloti, is a characteristic of the Rhizobiales, and potentially a conserved crucial activation step that may be targeted to control host invasion by pathogenic bacterial species.
Project description:Members of the Rhizobiales (class of ?-proteobacteria) display zonal peptidoglycan cell wall growth at one cell pole, contrasting with the dispersed mode of cell wall growth along the sidewalls of many other rod-shaped bacteria. Here we show that the seven-transmembrane receptor (7TMR) protein RgsP (SMc00074), together with the putative membrane-anchored peptidoglycan metallopeptidase RgsM (SMc02432), have key roles in unipolar peptidoglycan formation during growth and at mid-cell during cell division in Sinorhizobium meliloti. RgsP is composed of a periplasmic globular 7TMR-DISMED2 domain, a membrane-spanning region, and cytoplasmic PAS, GGDEF and EAL domains. The EAL domain confers phosphodiesterase activity towards the second messenger cyclic di-GMP, a key regulatory player in the transition between bacterial lifestyles. RgsP and RgsM localize to sites of zonal cell wall synthesis at the new cell pole and cell divison site, suggesting a role in cell wall biogenesis. The two proteins are essential for cell wall biogenesis and cell growth. Cells depleted of RgsP or RgsM had an altered muropeptide composition and RgsM binds to peptidoglycan. RgsP and RgsM orthologs are functional when interchanged between ?-rhizobial species pointing to a conserved mechanism for cell wall biogenesis/remodeling within the Rhizobiales. Overall, our findings suggest that RgsP and RgsM contribute to the regulation of unipolar cell wall biogenesis in ?-rhizobia.
Project description:Organisms rely on symbiotic associations for metabolism, protection, and energy. However, these intimate partnerships can be vulnerable to exploitation. What prevents microbial mutualists from parasitizing their hosts? In legumes, there is evidence that hosts have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to manage their symbiotic rhizobia, but the generality and evolutionary origins of these control mechanisms are under debate. Here, we focused on the symbiosis between Parasponia hosts and N2-fixing rhizobium bacteria. Parasponia is the only non-legume lineage to have evolved a rhizobial symbiosis and thus provides an evolutionary replicate to test how rhizobial exploitation is controlled. A key question is whether Parasponia hosts can prevent colonization of rhizobia under high nitrogen conditions, when the contribution of the symbiont becomes nonessential. We grew Parasponia andersonii inoculated with Bradyrhizobium elkanii under four ammonium nitrate concentrations in a controlled growth chamber. We measured shoot and root dry weight, nodule number, nodule fresh weight, nodule volume. To quantify viable rhizobial populations in planta, we crushed nodules and determined colony forming units (CFU), as a rhizobia fitness proxy. We show that, like legumes and actinorhizal plants, P. andersonii is able to control nodule symbiosis in response to exogenous nitrogen. While the relative host growth benefits of inoculation decreased with nitrogen fertilization, our highest ammonium nitrate concentration (3.75 mM) was sufficient to prevent nodule formation on inoculated roots. Rhizobial populations were highest in nitrogen free medium. While we do not yet know the mechanism, our results suggest that control mechanisms over rhizobia are not exclusive to the legume clade.