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Pathogenesis of the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 in Arabidopsis

Plotnikova, J.M., Rahme, L.G., Ausubel, F.M.
Plant physiology 2000 v.124 no.4 pp. 1766-1774
Arabidopsis thaliana, plant pathogenic bacteria, ecotypes, cell walls, developmental stages, genetic variation, pathogenesis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, stomata, mesophyll, infection
The human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA14 is a multihost pathogen that can infect Arabidopsis. We found that PA14 pathogenesis in Arabidopsis involves the following steps: attachment to the leaf surface, congregation of bacteria at and invasion through stomata or wounds, colonization of intercellular spaces, and concomitant disruption of plant cell wall and membrane structures, basipetal movement along the vascular parenchyma, and maceration and rotting of the petiole and central bud. Distinctive features of P. aeruginosa pathogenesis are that the surface of mesophyll cell walls adopt an unusual convoluted or undulated appearance, that PA14 cells orient themselves perpendicularly to the outer surface of mesophyll cell walls, and that PA14 cells make circular perforations, approximately equal to the diameter of P. aeruginosa, in mesophyll cell walls. Taken together, our data show that P. aeruginosa strain PA14 is a facultative pathogen of Arabidopsis that is capable of causing local and systemic infection, which can result in the death of the infected plant.