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AlgU contributes to the virulence of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 by regulating production of the phytotoxin coronatine

Ishiga, Takako, Ishiga, Yasuhiro, Betsuyaku, Shigeyuki, Nomura, Nobuhiko
Journal of general plant pathology 2018 v.84 no.3 pp. 189-201
Arabidopsis, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, alginates, biosynthesis, exopolysaccharides, gene expression, genes, host plants, mechanism of action, models, mutants, pathogens, phenotype, sigma factors, stomatal movement, tomatoes, virulence
Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000), which causes bacterial speck disease of tomato, has been used as a model pathogen to investigate the molecular basis of plant–pathogen interactions. The function of many potential virulence factors encoded in the Pst DC3000 genome and their modes of action are not fully understood. P. syringae is known to produce the exopolysaccharide alginate. Although AlgU, a sigma factor, is known to regulate the expression of genes such as algD related to alginate biosynthesis, the molecular mechanisms of AlgU in the virulence of Pst DC3000 is still unclear. To investigate the function of AlgU and alginate in plant–bacterial pathogen interactions, we generated ΔalgU and ΔalgD mutants. After inoculation with ΔalgU but not ΔalgD, host plants of Pst DC3000 including tomato and Arabidopsis had milder disease symptoms and reduced bacterial populations. Expression profiles of Pst DC3000 genes revealed that AlgU can regulate not only the expression of genes encoding alginate biosynthesis, but also the expression of genes related to type III effectors and the phytotoxin coronatine (COR). We also demonstrated that the ΔalgU mutant showed full virulence in the Arabidopsis fls2 efr1 double mutant, which is compromised in the recognition of PAMPs. Further, the application of COR was able to restore the phenotype of the ΔalgU mutant in the stomatal response. These results suggest that AlgU has an important role in the virulence of Pst DC3000 by regulating COR production.