Matching population diversity of rhizobial nodA and legume NFR5 genes in plant–microbe symbiosis

Anna A. Igolkina, Georgii A. Bazykin, Elena P. Chizhevskaya, Nikolai A. Provorov, Evgeny E. Andronov

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    We hypothesized that population diversities of partners in nitrogen-fixing rhizobium–legume symbiosis can be matched for “interplaying” genes. We tested this hypothesis using data on nucleotide polymorphism of symbiotic genes encoding two components of the plant–bacteria signaling system: (a) the rhizobial nodA acyltransferase involved in the fatty acid tail decoration of the Nod factor (signaling molecule); (b) the plant NFR5 receptor required for Nod factor binding. We collected three wild-growing legume species together with soil samples adjacent to the roots from one large 25-year fallow: Vicia sativa, Lathyrus pratensis, and Trifolium hybridum nodulated by one of the two Rhizobium leguminosarum biovars (viciae and trifolii). For each plant species, we prepared three pools for DNA extraction and further sequencing: the plant pool (30 plant indiv.), the nodule pool (90 nodules), and the soil pool (30 samples). We observed the following statistically significant conclusions: (a) a monotonic relationship between the diversity in the plant NFR5 gene pools and the nodule rhizobial nodA gene pools; (b) higher topological similarity of the NFR5 gene tree with the nodA gene tree of the nodule pool, than with the nodA gene tree of the soil pool. Both nonsynonymous diversity and Tajima's D were increased in the nodule pools compared with the soil pools, consistent with relaxation of negative selection and/or admixture of balancing selection. We propose that the observed genetic concordance between NFR5 gene pools and nodule nodA gene pools arises from the selection of particular genotypes of the nodA gene by the host plant.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10377-10386
    Number of pages10
    JournalEcology and Evolution
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


    • evolutionary molding
    • NFR5
    • nodA
    • phylogenetic congruence
    • rhizobium–legume symbiosis
    • topological diversity


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