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Systematic and Applied Microbiology
Vol. 39 (4), 2016, Pages: 260–265

Evolution and taxonomy of native mesorhizobia nodulating medicinal Glycyrrhiza species in China

Seyed Abdollah Mousavi, Li Li, Gehong Wei, Leena Räsänen, Kristina Lindström

University of Helsinki, Department of Environmental Sciences, Helsinki, Finland.


Previously, 159 bacterial strains were isolated from the root nodules of wild perennial Glycyrrhiza legume species grown on 40 sites in central and north-western China, in which 57 strains were classified as “true symbionts” belonging to the genusMesorhizobium based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) genomic fingerprinting and partial sequences of the 16S rRNA gene [20]. In the present work, the phylogeny of Glycyrrhiza nodulating mesorhizobia was further examined by multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA). The concatenated gene tree of three housekeeping genes (16S rRNA, recA, and rpoB) of 59 strains including the 29 mesorhizobial test strains and 30 type mesorhizobial species, was constructed applying the maximum likelihood method and Bayesian inference. In the concatenated gene tree, the 29 test strains were distributed in seven separate clades. Seventeen test strains clustered with Mesorhizobium tianshanenseMesorhizobium temperatumMesorhizobium muleiense, and Mesorhizobium alhagi with high bootstrap support (BS > 85%). Eight test strains did not cluster with any of the described Mesorhizobium species. Based on the results, we proposed these eight test strains might belong to a putative new species of the genusMesorhizobium. The sequences of three accessory genes (nodAnodC, and nifH) of the test strains were also analyzed and were compared with those of representatives of the 30 described mesorhizobial species. The results showed that mesorhizobia involved in symbiosis with Glycyrrhiza plants probably have acquired some genetic material from other rhizobia in co-evolution with Glycyrrhiza and other legume species.

Keywords: MLSA; Housekeeping genes; Accessory genes; Mesorhizobium; Glycyrrhiza.

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