2015 Volume 30 Issue 4 Pages 291-300
Plant associations by bradyrhizobia have been detected not only in leguminous plants, but also in non-leguminous species including rice. Bradyrhizobium sp. SUTN9-2 was isolated from Aeschynomene americana L., which is a leguminous weed found in the rice fields of Thailand. This strain promoted the highest total rice (Oryza sativa L. cultivar Pathum Thani 1) dry weight among the endophytic bradyrhizobial strains tested, and was, thus, employed for the further characterization of rice-Bradyrhizobium interactions. Some known bacterial genes involved in bacteria-plant interactions were selected. The expression of the type III secretion component (rhcJ), type IV secretion component (virD4), and pectinesterase (peces) genes of the bacterium were up-regulated when the rice root exudate was added to the culture. When SUTN9-2 was inoculated into rice seedlings, the peces, rhcJ, virD4, and exopolysaccharide production (fliP) genes were strongly expressed in the bacterium 6–24 h after the inoculation. The gene for glutathione-S-transferase (gst) was slightly expressed 12 h after the inoculation. In order to determine whether type III secretion system (T3SS) is involved in bradyrhizobial infections in rice plants, wild-type SUTN9-2 and T3SS mutant strains were inoculated into the original host plant (A. americana) and a rice plant (cultivar Pathum Thani 1). The ability of T3SS mutants to invade rice tissues was weaker than that of the wild-type strain; however, their phenotypes in A. americana were not changed by T3SS mutations. These results suggest that T3SS is one of the important determinants modulating rice infection; however, type IV secretion system and peces may also be responsible for the early steps of rice infection.