A promiscuity locus confers Lotus burttii nodulation with rhizobia from five different genera

Mohammad Zarrabian, Jesus Montiel (Lead / Corresponding author), Niels Sandal, Shaun Ferguson, Haojie JIn, Yen-Yu Lin, Verena Klingi, Macarena Marin, Euan K. James, Martin Parniske, Jens Stougaard, Stig U. Andersen (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Legumes acquire access to atmospheric nitrogen through nitrogen fixation by rhizobia in root nodules. Rhizobia are soil dwelling organisms and there is a tremendous diversity of rhizobial species in different habitats. From the legume perspective, host range is a compromise between the ability to colonize new habitats, where the preferred symbiotic partner may be absent, and guarding against infection by suboptimal nitrogen fixers. Here, we investigate natural variation in rhizobial host range across Lotus species. We find that Lotus burttii is considerably more promiscuous than Lotus japonicus, represented by the Gifu accession, in its interactions with rhizobia. This promiscuity allows Lotus burttii to form nodules with Mesorhizobium, Rhizobium, Sinorhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, and Allorhizobium species that represent five distinct genera. Using recombinant inbred lines, we have mapped the Gifu/burttii promiscuity QTL to the same genetic locus regardless of rhizobial genus, suggesting a general genetic mechanism for symbiont-range expansion. The Gifu/burttii QTL now provides an opportunity for genetic and mechanistic understanding of promiscuous legume-rhizobia interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2022


  • symbiotic nitrogen fixation
  • Lotus
  • host range
  • genetic mapping
  • rhizobia


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