The Sfp-type 4'-phosphopantetheinyl transferase Ppt1 is required for activation of nonribosomal peptide synthetases, including α-aminoadipate reductase (AAR) for lysine biosynthesis and polyketide synthases, enzymes that biosynthesize peptide and polyketide secondary metabolites, respectively. Deletion of the PPT1 gene, from the maize pathogen Cochliobolus heterostrophus and the rice pathogen Cochliobolus miyabeanus, yielded strains that were significantly reduced in virulence to their hosts. In addition, ppt1 mutants of C. heterostrophus race T and Cochliobolus victoriae were unable to biosynthesize the host-selective toxins (HST) T-toxin and victorin, respectively, as judged by bioassays. Interestingly, ppt1 mutants of C. miyabeanus were shown to produce tenfold higher levels of the sesterterpene-type non-HST ophiobolin A, as compared with the wild-type strain. The ppt1 strains of all species were also reduced in tolerance to oxidative stress and iron depletion; both phenotypes are associated with inability to produce extracellular siderophores biosynthesized by the nonribosomal peptide synthetase Nps6. Colony surfaces were hydrophilic, a trait previously associated with absence of C. heterostrophus Nps4. Mutants were decreased in asexual sporulation and C. heterostrophus strains were female-sterile in sexual crosses; the latter phenotype was observed previously with mutants lacking Nps2, which produces an intracellular siderophore. As expected, mutants were albino, since they cannot produce the polyketide melanin and were auxotrophic for lysine because they lack an AAR.
Genetically, Rhizobium sp. strain NGR234 and R. fredii USDA257 are closely related. Small differences in their nodulation genes result in NGR234 secreting larger amounts of more diverse lipo-oligosaccharidic Nod factors than USDA257. What effects these differences have on nodulation were analyzed by inoculating 452 species of legumes, representing all three subfamilies of the Leguminosae, as well as the nonlegume Parasponia andersonii, with both strains. The two bacteria nodulated P. andersonii, induced ineffective outgrowths on Delonix regia, and nodulated Chamaecrista fasciculata, a member of the only nodulating genus of the Caesalpinieae tested. Both strains nodulated a range of mimosoid legumes, especially the Australian species of Acacia, and the tribe Ingeae. Highest compatibilities were found with the papilionoid tribes Phaseoleae and Desmodieae. On Vigna spp. (Phaseoleae), both bacteria formed more effective symbioses than rhizobia of the "cowpea" (V. unguiculata) miscellany. USDA257 nodulated an exact subset (79 genera) of the NGR234 hosts (112 genera). If only one of the bacteria formed effective, nitrogen-fixing nodules it was usually NGR234. The only exceptions were with Apios americana, Glycine max, and G. soja. Few correlations can be drawn between Nod-factor substituents and the ability to nodulate specific legumes. Relationships between the ability to nodulate and the origin of the host were not apparent. As both P. andersonii and NGR234 originate from Indonesia/Malaysia/Papua New Guinea, and NGR234's preferred hosts (Desmodiinae/Phaseoleae) are largely Asian, we suggest that broad host range originated in Southeast Asia and spread outward.