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Diversity of Opines and Opine-Catabolizing Bacteria Isolated from Naturally Occurring Crown Gall Tumors

By L. W. Moore, W. S. Chilton and M. L. Canfield


The diversity of opines from 43 naturally occurring crown gall tumors on several plant species was analyzed for the presence of agropine, chrysopine, iminodiacid, an unidentified leucinopine-like iminodiacid (IDA-B), mannopine, octopine, nopaline, DL- and LL-succinamopine, leucinopine and heliopine. Opine utilization patterns of agrobacteria and fluorescent pseudomonads resident in a tumor were then analyzed and compared for agreement with the opine isolated from that tumor. Nopaline was the most common opine found and was detected in tumors from cherry, blackberry, grape, and plum. Octopine was not found, although octopine-catabolizing bacteria were isolated from several tumors. A new, previously undescribed iminodiacid of the succinamopine-leucinopine type (provisionally designated IDA-B) was isolated from tumors of wild blackberry. Field tumors from apple, blueberry and grape yielded no detectable opines, even though opine-utilizing bacteria were present. Bacterial isolates from plum and cherry showed the best correspondence between the opine in tumors (nopaline) and the presence of bacteria that catabolized that opine. However, several unusual opine catabolic combinations were identified, including isolates that catabolized a variety of opines but were nonpathogenic. More variability was observed among isolates from field tumors on the remaining plant species. We isolated novel mannopine-nopaline type agrobacteria from field tumors of cherry, plum and blackberry that induced tumors containing either mannopine (plus agropine) or nopaline, but not both. Epidemiologically, the galled plants from an area were not of clonal origin (same Ti plasmid), indicating that the field tumors from a small area were incited by more than one type of Ti plasmid

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