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The Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis Gene murC in Frankia: Actinorhizal vs. Plant Type

Department of Ecology, Environment, and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec), Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(4), 432;
Received: 2 March 2020 / Revised: 30 March 2020 / Accepted: 8 April 2020 / Published: 16 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Evolution of Root Nodule Symbioses)
Nitrogen-fixing Actinobacteria of the genus Frankia can be subdivided into four phylogenetically distinct clades; members of clusters one to three engage in nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbioses with actinorhizal plants. Mur enzymes are responsible for the biosynthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacteria. The four Mur ligases, MurC, MurD, MurE, and MurF, catalyse the addition of a short polypeptide to UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid. Frankia strains of cluster-2 and cluster-3 contain two copies of murC, while the strains of cluster-1 and cluster-4 contain only one. Phylogenetically, the protein encoded by the murC gene shared only by cluster-2 and cluster-3, termed MurC1, groups with MurC proteins of other Actinobacteria. The protein encoded by the murC gene found in all Frankia strains, MurC2, shows a higher similarity to the MurC proteins of plants than of Actinobacteria. MurC2 could have been either acquired via horizontal gene transfer or via gene duplication and convergent evolution, while murC1 was subsequently lost in the cluster-1 and cluster-4 strains. In the nodules induced by the cluster-2 strains, the expression levels of murC2 were significantly higher than those of murC1. Thus, there is clear sequence divergence between both types of Frankia MurC, and Frankia murC1 is in the process of being replaced by murC2, indicating selection in favour of murC2. Nevertheless, protein modelling showed no major structural differences between the MurCs from any phylogenetic group examined. View Full-Text
Keywords: Peptidoglycan; MurC; Frankia; nitrogen fixation; actinorhizal symbiosis; root nodules Peptidoglycan; MurC; Frankia; nitrogen fixation; actinorhizal symbiosis; root nodules
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Berckx, F.; Wibberg, D.; Kalinowski, J.; Pawlowski, K. The Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis Gene murC in Frankia: Actinorhizal vs. Plant Type. Genes 2020, 11, 432.

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