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Keywords:

  • Actinobacteria ;
  • actinorhizal plants;
  • Frankia sp.;
  • genomic diversity;
  • nitrogen fixation;
  • symbioses

Abstract

Studies of nitrogen-fixing properties among the Gram-positive Actinobacteria revealed that some species of Arthrobacter, Agromyces, Corynebacterium, Mycobacterium, Micromonospora, Propionibacteria and Streptomyces have nitrogen-fixing capacity. This is also valid for Frankia that fix nitrogen both in free-living and in symbiotic conditions. Frankia symbiosis results from interaction between the Frankia bacteria and dicotyledonous plants, that is, actinorhiza. These plants, which are important in forestry and agroforestry, form, together with the legumes (Fabales), a single nitrogen-fixing clade. It has been shown that a receptor-like kinase gene, SymRK, is necessary for nodulation in actinorhizal plants as well as in legumes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Recently, the involvement of isoflavonoids as signal molecules during nodulation of an actinorhizal plant was shown. The genome sizes of three Frankia species, Frankia EANpec, ACN14a and CcI3, are different, revealing a relationship between genome size and geographical distribution. Recent genomic sequencing data of Frankia represent genomes from cluster I to IV, indicating that the genome of DgI is one of the smallest genomes in Frankia. In addition, nonsymbiotic Frankiales such as Acidothermus cellulolyticus, Blastococcus saxoobsidens, Geodermatophilus obscurus and Modestobacter marinus have a variety of genome sizes ranging from 2.4 to 5.57 Mb.