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Keywords:

  • Bacteriophage RL38;
  • Bacteriophage resistance;
  • Rhizobium;
  • Symbiotic plasmid

Abstract The virulent Rhizobium bacteriophage RL38 did not form plaques on R.leguminosarum by phaseoli but did so at high efficiency on a derivative of that strain lacking its symbiotic plasmid pRP2JI. Other strains with large deletions in pRP2JI which removed many nod and nif genes retained resistance to RL38, showing that the gene which confers phage resistance lies elsewhere on the plasmid. Although the wild-type strain of R. leguminosarum bv. phaseoli failed to plate RL38, it was possible to transduce chromosomal markers into this strain, indicating that the ‘block’ was not at an early stage in the infection process. Two different recombinant plasmids obtained from a clone bank of genomic DNA of R. leguminosarum bv. phaseoli, which appeared to have no DNA in common, both conferred resistance to RL38. Surprisingly, the DNA cloned in each of these plasmids did not originate from pRP2JI. Therefore, several different loci both on the Sym plasmid and elsewhere on the bacterial genome can be involved in conferring resistance to this bacteriophage.