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Hydrogen sulfide causes excision of a genomic island in Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola

Neale, H., Deshappriya, N., Arnold, D., Wood, M. E., Whiteman, M., Hancock, J. T.
European journal of plant pathology 2017 v.149 no.4 pp. 911-921
DNA, Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola, animals, bacteria, crops, excision, genes, genomic islands, hydrogen sulfide, pathogens, plant tissues, stomatal movement, toxicity
Hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) is known to be an important signalling molecule in both animals and plants, despite its toxic nature. In plants it has been seen to control stomatal apertures, so altering the ability of bacteria to invade plant tissues. Bacteria are known to generate H₂S as well as being exposed to plant-generated H₂S. During their interaction with plants pathogenic bacteria are known to undergo alterations to their genomic complement. For example Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola (Pph) strain 1302A undergoes loss of a section of DNA known as a genomic island (PPHGI-1) when exposed to the plants resistance response. Loss of PPHGI-1 from Pph 1302A enables the pathogen to overcome the plants resistance response and cause disease. Here, with the use of H₂S donor molecules, changes induced in Pph 1302A genome, as demonstrated by excision of PPHGI-1, were investigated. Pph 1302A cells were found to be resistant to low concentrations of H₂S. However, at sub-lethal H₂S concentrations an increase in the expression of the PPHGI-1 encoded integrase gene (xerC), which is responsible for island excision, and a subsequent increase in the presence of the circular form of PPHGI-1 were detected. This suggests that H₂S is able to initiate excision of PPHGI-1 from the Pph genome. Therefore, H₂S that may emanate from the plant has an effect on the genome structure of invading bacteria and their ability to cause disease in plants. Modulation of such plant signals may be a way to increase plant defence responses for crops in the future.