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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 924235, 9 pages
Research Article

Absence of Cospeciation between the Uncultured Frankia Microsymbionts and the Disjunct Actinorhizal Coriaria Species

1Laboratoire Microorganismes et Biomolécules Actives, Université de Tunis El Manar (FST) et Université Carthage (INSAT), 2092 Tunis, Tunisia
2Ecologie Microbienne, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 5557, Université Lyon I, 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
3Laboratoire Microorganismes et Biomolécules Actives, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, 2092 Tunis, Tunisia

Received 4 March 2014; Revised 25 March 2014; Accepted 27 March 2014; Published 22 April 2014

Academic Editor: Ameur Cherif

Copyright © 2014 Imen Nouioui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Coriaria is an actinorhizal plant that forms root nodules in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing actinobacteria of the genus Frankia. This symbiotic association has drawn interest because of the disjunct geographical distribution of Coriaria in four separate areas of the world and in the context of evolutionary relationships between host plants and their uncultured microsymbionts. The evolution of Frankia-Coriaria symbioses was examined from a phylogenetic viewpoint using multiple genetic markers in both bacteria and host-plant partners. Total DNA extracted from root nodules collected from five species: C. myrtifolia, C. arborea, C. nepalensis, C. japonica, and C. microphylla, growing in the Mediterranean area (Morocco and France), New Zealand, Pakistan, Japan, and Mexico, respectively, was used to amplify glnA gene (glutamine synthetase), dnaA gene (chromosome replication initiator), and the nif DK IGS (intergenic spacer between nifD and nifK genes) in Frankia and the matK gene (chloroplast-encoded maturase K) and the intergenic transcribed spacers (18S rRNA-ITS1-5.8S rRNA-ITS2-28S rRNA) in Coriaria species. Phylogenetic reconstruction indicated that the radiations of Frankia strains and Coriaria species are not congruent. The lack of cospeciation between the two symbiotic partners may be explained by host shift at high taxonomic rank together with wind dispersal and/or survival in nonhost rhizosphere.