Symbiont shift towards Rhizobium nodulation in a group of phylogenetically related Phaseolus species

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2014 Oct;79:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.06.006. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Bean plants from the Phaseolus genus are widely consumed and represent a nitrogen source for human nutrition. They provide biological fertilization by establishing root nodule symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. To establish a successful interaction, bean plants and their symbiotic bacteria need to synchronize a proper molecular crosstalk. Within the Phaseolus genus, P. vulgaris has been the prominent species to study nodulation with Rhizobium symbionts. However the Phaseolus genus comprises diverse species whose symbionts have not been analyzed. Here we identified and studied nodule bacteria from representative Phaseolus species not previously analyzed and from all the described wild species related to P. vulgaris. We found Bradyrhizobium in nodules from most species representing all Phaseolus clades except in five phylogenetically related species from the P. vulgaris clade. Therefore we propose that Bradyrhizobium nodulation is common in Phaseolus and that there was a symbiont preference shift to Rhizobium nodulation in few related species. This work sets the basis to further study the genetic basis of this symbiont substitution.

Keywords: Bradyrhizobium; Nodulation; Phaseolus; Rhizobium; Symbiosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bradyrhizobium / genetics*
  • Bradyrhizobium / isolation & purification
  • Bradyrhizobium / physiology
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Mexico
  • Phaseolus / classification
  • Phaseolus / microbiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rhizobium / genetics*
  • Rhizobium / isolation & purification
  • Rhizobium / physiology
  • Root Nodules, Plant / microbiology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Symbiosis*


  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S