Stand Genomic Sci 12 , 14 (Jan 26 2017)
Rhizobium aethiopicum sp. nov. is a newly proposed species within the genus Rhizobium. This species includes six rhizobial strains; which were isolated from root nodules of the legume plant Phaseolus vulgaris growing in soils of Ethiopia. The species fixes nitrogen effectively in symbiosis with the host plant P. vulgaris, and is composed of aerobic, Gram-negative staining, rod-shaped bacteria. The genome of type strain HBR26T of R. aethiopicum sp. nov. was one of the rhizobial genomes sequenced as a part of the DOE JGI 2014 Genomic Encyclopedia project designed for soil and plant-associated and newly described type strains. The genome sequence is arranged in 62 scaffolds and consists of 6,557,588 bp length, with a 61% G + C content and 6221 protein-coding and 86 RNAs genes. The genome of HBR26T contains repABC genes (plasmid replication genes) homologous to the genes found in five different Rhizobium etli CFN42T plasmids, suggesting that HBR26T may have five additional replicons other than the chromosome. In the genome of HBR26T, the nodulation genes nodB, nodC, nodS, nodI, nodJ and nodD are located in the same module, and organized in a similar way as nod genes found in the genome of other known common bean-nodulating rhizobial species. nodA gene is found in a different scaffold, but it is also very similar to nodA genes of other bean-nodulating rhizobial strains. Though HBR26T is distinct on the phylogenetic tree and based on ANI analysis (the highest value 90.2% ANI with CFN42T) from other bean-nodulating species, these nod genes and most nitrogen-fixing genes found in the genome of HBR26T share high identity with the corresponding genes of known bean-nodulating rhizobial species (96-100% identity). This suggests that symbiotic genes might be shared between bean-nodulating rhizobia through horizontal gene transfer. R. aethiopicum sp. nov. was grouped into the genus Rhizobium but was distinct from all recognized species of that genus by phylogenetic analyses of combined sequences of the housekeeping genes recA and glnII. The closest reference type strains for HBR26T were R. etli CFN42T (94% similarity of the combined recA and glnII sequences) and Rhizobium bangladeshense BLR175T (93%). Genomic ANI calculation based on protein-coding genes also revealed that the closest reference strains were R. bangladeshense BLR175T and R. etli CFN42T with ANI values 91.8 and 90.2%, respectively. Nevertheless, the ANI values between HBR26T and BLR175T or CFN42T are far lower than the cutoff value of ANI (> = 96%) between strains in the same species, confirming that HBR26T belongs to a novel species. Thus, on the basis of phylogenetic, comparative genomic analyses and ANI results, we formally propose the creation of R. aethiopicum sp. nov. with strain HBR26T (=HAMBI 3550T=LMG 29711T) as the type strain. The genome assembly and annotation data is deposited in the DOE JGI portal and also available at European Nucleotide Archive under accession numbers FMAJ01000001-FMAJ01000062.