Submitted to: Systematic and Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/7/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Certain trees and woody shrubs, like alder, Russian olive, Australian pine, and bayberry contain bacteria in their roots that can take nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available to the plants. These bacteria, called Frankia, are even more efficient than the bacteria found in the roots of legumes like soybeans, peas, or alfalfa, but are very difficult to grow outside of the plant roots. This makes it hard to identify the types of these bacteria associated with different plants. A new relatively rapid technique called staircase electrophoresis was used to look at the low molecular ribonucleic acids of Frankia cultures from various plants from throughout the world to determine if it might be useful in the study of these bacteria. The results of this study suggest that the technique should be useful in future investigations of the distribution and diversity of these bacteria.
Technical Abstract: An optimized technique of polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, Staircase Electrophoresis (SCE), was applied to determine the stable Low Molecular Weight RNA (LMW RNA) profiles of 25 Frankia strains from diverse geographic origins and host specificity groups as well as species from other actinomycete genera. Application of the technique permits the rapid identification of Frankia strains and their differentiation from other actinomycetes. The isolates used in this study were grouped in eight clusters, each comprising strains with identical LMW RNA profiles. Comparison of these results with others obtained from DNA sequences or DNA hybridization methods suggest a high degree of complexity in the genus Frankia. Application of SCE to profile LMW RNA should in the future facilitate biodiversity studies of Frankia and discrimination of new species.