A Promiscuity Locus Confers Lotus burttii Nodulation with Rhizobia from Five Different Genera

Mohammad Zarrabian, Jesús Montiel*, Niels Sandal, Shaun Ferguson, Haojie Jin, Yen Yu Lin, Verena Klingl, Macarena Marín, Euan K. James, Martin Parniske, Jens Stougaard, Stig U. Andersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Legumes acquire access to atmospheric nitrogen through nitrogen fixation by rhizobia in root nodules. Rhizobia are soil-dwelling bacteria and there is a tremendous diversity of rhizobial species in different habitats. Fromthe legume perspective, host range is a compromise between the ability to colonize new habitats, in which 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 theGifu 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 havemapped the Gifu/burttii promiscuity quantitative trait loci (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
Pages (from-to)1006-1017
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


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


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