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dc.contributor.authorZatakia, Hardik M.en_US
dc.date.accessioned2015-09-28T13:50:24Z
dc.date.available2015-09-28T13:50:24Z
dc.date.issued2015-09-15en_US
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:6260en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/56652
dc.description.abstractBacteria perform biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) which leads to conversion of N2 to ammonia. One of the best studied models of BNF is the symbiotic association of Sinorhizobium meliloti - Medicago sativa (alfalfa). Since alfalfa is a major source of animal feed and the fourth largest crop grown in the USA, enhanced understanding of this symbiosis can have implications for increasing crop yields, reducing environmental contamination and food costs. Studies discussed here focus on two symbiotically important bacterial traits, type IVb pili and chemotaxis. Chapter 2 characterizes S. meliloti type IVb pili encoded by flp-1 and establishes their role in nodulation. Bundle-forming pili were visualized in wild-type cells, while cells lacking pilA1, the pilin-encoding gene, showed an absence of pili. Competitive nodulation assays with alfalfa concluded that cells lacking pili had a significant nodulation defect. Regulation of pilA1 expression via a quorum sensing regulator, ExpR, was confirmed. Chapter 3 describes the role of the flp-2 cluster in establishing symbiosis. PilA2 is a pilin subunit encoded from flp-2. The pilA2 deletion strain was defective in nodulation by 31% as compared to the wild type. A non-significant change in nodulation was seen in pilA1pilA2 strain. Thus, both flp-1 and flp-2 have a significant role in establishing symbiosis. Chapter 4 focuses on the deviations of S. meliloti chemotaxis from the enterobacterial paradigm. Transcriptional fusions showed that S. meliloti chemoreceptors (MCPs) are class III genes and regulated by FlbT. Quantitative immunoblots determined the cellular amounts of chemoreceptors. Chemoreceptors were grouped in three classes; high, low, and extremely-low abundance, similar to the high and low abundance chemoreceptors of Escherichia coli. Importantly, the MCP:CheA ratio in an S. meliloti cell was observed to be 37:1, similar to that in Bacillus subtilis of 24:1, but quite different from that in E. coli of 3.4:1. In conclusion, our data indicates that soil bacteria may have optimized their chemotaxis system based on their milieu, which is different from enteric bacteria. These studies have enhanced our understanding of two symbiotically important processes in S. meliloti, and pave the way for future manipulations of the system to increase symbiosis and reduce our dependence on synthetic fertilizers.en_US
dc.format.mediumETDen_US
dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. Some uses of this Item may be deemed fair and permitted by law even without permission from the rights holder(s), or the rights holder(s) may have licensed the work for use under certain conditions. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights holder(s).en_US
dc.subject: Chemotaxisen_US
dc.subjectexopolysaccharidesen_US
dc.subjectmotilityen_US
dc.subjectnodulationen_US
dc.subjecttype IVb pilien_US
dc.titleCharacterization of symbiotically important processes in Sinorhizobium melilotien_US
dc.typeDissertationen_US
dc.contributor.departmentBiological Sciencesen_US
dc.description.degreePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineBiological Sciencesen_US
dc.contributor.committeechairScharf, Birgiten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPopham, David L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberStevens, Ann M.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberJelesko, John G.en_US


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