Rust fungi are devastating crop pathogens that deliver effector proteins into infected tissues to modulate plant functions and promote parasitic growth. The genome of the poplar leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina revealed a large catalogue of secreted proteins, some of which have been considered candidate effectors. Unravelling how these proteins function in host cells is key to understanding pathogenicity mechanisms and developing resistant plants. In this study, we used an effectoromics pipeline to select, clone, and express 20 candidate effectors in Nicotiana benthamiana leaf cells to determine their subcellular localisation and identify the plant proteins they interact with. Confocal microscopy revealed that six candidate effectors target the nucleus, nucleoli, chloroplasts, mitochondria and discrete cellular bodies. We also used coimmunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry to identify 606 N. benthamiana proteins that associate with the candidate effectors. Five candidate effectors specifically associated with a small set of plant proteins that may represent biologically relevant interactors. We confirmed the interaction between the candidate effector MLP124017 and the TOPLESS-Related Protein 4 from poplar by in planta coimmunoprecipitation. Altogether, our data enable us to validate effector proteins from M. larici-populina and reveal that these proteins may target multiple compartments and processes in plant cells. It also shows that N. benthamiana can be a powerful heterologous system to study effectors of obligate biotrophic pathogens.
Background Bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum is a serious soil-borne disease of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L). The molecular basis of peanut response to R. solanacearum remains unknown. To understand the resistance mechanism behind peanut resistance to R. solanacearum, we used RNA-Seq to perform global transcriptome profiling on the roots of peanut resistant (R) and susceptible (S) genotypes under R. solanacearum infection.
Results A total of 4.95 x 108 raw sequence reads were generated and subsequently assembled into 271, 790 unigenes with an average length of 890 bp and a N50 of 1, 665 bp. 179, 641 unigenes could be annotated by public protein databases. The pairwise transcriptome comparsions of time course (6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 h post inoculation) were conducted 1) between inoculated and control samples of each genotype, 2) between inoculated samples of R and S genotypes. The linear dynamics of transcriptome profile was observed between adjacent samples for each genotype, two genotypes shared similar transcriptome pattern at early time points with most significant up regulation at 12 hour, and samples from R genotype at 24 h and S genotype at 48 h showed similar transcriptome pattern, significant differences of transcriptional profile were observed in pairwise comparisons between R and S genotypes. KEGG analysis showed that the primary metabolisms were inhibited in both genotypes and stronger inhibition in R genotype post inoculation. The defense related genes (R gene, LRR-RLK,cell wall genes, etc.) generally showed a genotype-specific down regulation and different expression between both genotypes.
Conclusion This transcriptome profiling provided the largest data set that explores the dynamic in crosstalk between peanut and R. solanacearum. The results suggested that the down-regulation of primary metabolism is contributed to the resistance difference between R and S genotypes. The genotype-specific expression pattern of defense related DEGs also contributed to the resistance difference between R and S genotype. This study will strongly contribute to better understand the molecular interaction between plant and R. solanacearum.
PLOS Biology is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that features works of exceptional significance in all areas of biological science, from molecules to ecosystems, including works at the interface with other disciplines.
Freddy Monteiro's insight:
This "Sypnosis" article by Roland G. Roberts on PLoS Biology is simply beautiful. A must read before digesting Arnoldini M et al paper
Authors: Y. N. Chen, X. P. Ren, X. J. Zhou, L. Huang, J. Q. Huang, L. Y. Yan, Y. Lei, Y Qi, W. H. Wei and H. F. Jiang
Bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum is a serious disease of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) in China. However, the molecular basis of peanut resistance to R. solanacearum is poorly understood. Arachis duranensis, a wild diploid species of the genus Arachis, has been proven to be resistant to bacterial wilt, and thus holds valuable potential for understanding the mechanism of resistance to bacterial wilt and genetic improvement of peanut disease resistance. Here, suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) and macroarray hybridization were employed to detect differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the roots of A. duranensis after R. solanacearum inoculation. A total of 317 unique genes were obtained, 265 of which had homologues and functional annotations. KEGG analysis revealed that a large proportion of these unigenes are mainly involved in the biosynthesis of phytoalexins, particularly in the biosynthetic pathways of terpenoids and flavonoids. Subsequent real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis showed that the terpenoid and flavonoid synthesis-related genes showed higher expression levels in a resistant genotype of A. duranensis than in a susceptible genotype, indicating that the terpenoids and flavonoids probably played a fundamental role in the resistance of A. duranensis to R. solanacearum. This study provides an overview of the gene expression profile in the roots of wild Arachis species in response to R. solanacearum infection. Moreover, the related candidate genes are also valuable for the further study of the molecular mechanisms of resistance to R. solanacearum.
Freddy Monteiro's insight:
Terpenoids and flavonoids MIGHT be responsible for resistance of Arachis duranensis to R. solanacearum.
Authors: Yi Ma, Yichen Zhao, Robin K. Walker and Gerald A. Berkowitz.
Endogenous plant elicitor peptides (Peps) can act to facilitate immune signaling and pathogen defense responses. Binding of these peptides to the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plasma membrane-localized Pep receptors (PEPRs) leads to cytosolic Ca2+ elevation, an early event in a signaling cascade that activates immune responses. This immune response includes the amplification of signaling evoked by direct perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns by plant cells under assault. Work included in this report further characterizes the Pep immune response and identifies new molecular steps in the signal transduction cascade. The PEPR coreceptor BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE1 Associated Kinase1 contributes to generation of the Pep-activated Ca2+ signal and leads to increased defense gene expression and resistance to a virulent bacterial pathogen. Ca2+-dependent protein kinases (CPKs) decode the Ca2+ signal, also facilitating defense gene expression and enhanced resistance to the pathogen. Nitric oxide and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase-dependent reactive oxygen species generation (due to the function of Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homolog proteins D and F) are also involved downstream from the Ca2+ signal in the Pep immune defense signal transduction cascade, as is the case with BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE1 Associated Kinase1 and CPK5, CPK6, and CPK11. These steps of the pathogen defense response are required for maximal Pep immune activation that limits growth of a virulent bacterial pathogen in the plant. We find a synergism between function of the PEPR and Flagellin Sensing2 receptors in terms of both nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species generation. Presented results are also consistent with the involvement of the secondary messenger cyclic GMP and a cyclic GMP-activated Ca2+-conducting channel in the Pep immune signaling pathway.
Authors: Kevin L. Hockett, Adrien Y. Burch and Steven E. Lindow
Pseudomonas syringae is an important phyllosphere colonist that utilizes flagellum-mediated motility both as a means to explore leaf surfaces, as well as to invade into leaf interiors, where it survives as a pathogen. We found that multiple forms of flagellum-mediated motility are thermo-suppressed, including swarming and swimming motility. Suppression of swarming motility occurs between 28° and 30°C, which coincides with the optimal growth temperature of P. syringae. Both fliC (encoding flagellin) and syfA (encoding a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase involved in syringafactin biosynthesis) were suppressed with increasing temperature. RNA-seq revealed 1440 genes of the P. syringae genome are temperature sensitive in expression. Genes involved in polysaccharide synthesis and regulation, phage and IS elements, type VI secretion, chemosensing and chemotaxis, translation, flagellar synthesis and motility, and phytotoxin synthesis and transport were generally repressed at 30°C, while genes involved in transcriptional regulation, quaternary ammonium compound metabolism and transport, chaperone/heat shock proteins, and hypothetical genes were generally induced at 30°C. Deletion of flgM, a key regulator in the transition from class III to class IV gene expression, led to elevated and constitutive expression of fliC regardless of temperature, but did not affect thermo-regulation of syfA. This work highlights the importance of temperature in the biology of P. syringae, as many genes encoding traits important for plant-microbe interactions were thermo-regulated.
Scooped from: Journal of General Plant Pathology, 2014
Authors: Seiji Tsuge, Ayako Furutani, Yumi Ikawa
Like other plant-pathogenic bacteria, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, the causal agent of bacterial leaf blight of rice, has hrp genes that are indispensable for its virulence. The hrp genes are involved in the construction of the type III secretion (T3S) apparatus, through which dozens of virulence-related proteins, called effectors, are directly secreted into plant cells to suppress and disturb plant immune systems and/or induce plant susceptibility genes. The expression of hrp genes is strictly regulated and induced only in plants and in certain nutrient-poor media. Two proteins, HrpG and HrpX, are known as key regulators for hrp gene expression. Great efforts by many researchers have revealed unexpectedly that, besides HrpG and HrpX, many regulators are involved in this regulation, some of which also regulate the expression of virulence-related genes other than hrp. Moreover, it has been found that HrpG and HrpX regulate not only hrp genes and effector genes but also genes unrelated to the T3S system. These findings suggest that the expression of the hrp gene is orchestrally regulated with other virulence-related genes by a complicated, sophisticated regulatory network in X. oryzaepv. oryzae.
Authors: Milija Jovanovic*, Edward Lawton, Jörg Schumacher andMartin BuckAbstractPs. syringae pv tomato DC3000, a plant pathogenic gram negative bacterium, employs the Type III Secretion System (T3SS) to cause disease in tomato and Arabidopsis and to induce the hypersensitive response in non-host plants. The expression of T3SS is regulated by the HrpL extracytoplasmic sigma factor. Expression of HrpL is controlled by transcriptional activators HrpR and HrpS and negative regulator HrpV. In this study we analysed the organization of HrpRS and HrpV regulatory proteins and interplay between them. We identified one key residue I26 in HrpS required for repression by HrpV. Substitution of I26 in HrpS abolishes its interaction with HrpV, impairs interactions between HrpS and HrpR and the self-association of HrpS. We show that HrpS self-associates and can associate simultaneously with HrpR and HrpV. We now propose that HrpS has a central role in the assembly of the regulatory HrpRSV complex. Deletion analysis of HrpR and HrpS proteins showed that C-terminal parts of HrpR and HrpS confer determinants indispensable for their self-assembly.
"Vincent Racaniello, Elio Schaechter, Michael Schmidt, and Michele Swanson review how a pathogen promotes plant attractiveness to insect vectors, and activation of sensory neurons that modulate pain and inflammation by bacterial infection". Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/twim
"This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) is a podcast about unseen life on Earth hosted by Vincent Racaniello and friends. Following in the path of his successful shows 'This Week in Virology' (TWiV) and 'This Week in Parasitism' (TWiP), Racaniello and guests produce an informal yet informative conversation about microbes which is accessible to everyone, no matter what their science background". Source: http://www.microbeworld.org/podcasts/this-week-in-microbiology
Infections with Salmonella enterica belong to the most prominent causes of food poisoning and infected fruits and vegetables represent important vectors for salmonellosis. Whereas it was shown that plants raise defense responses against Salmonella, these bacteria persist and proliferate in various plant tissues. Recent reports shed light into the molecular interaction between plants and Salmonella, highlighting the defense pathways induced and the means used by the bacteria to escape the plant immune system and accomplish colonization. It was recently shown that plants detect Salmonella pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), such as the flagellin peptide flg22, and activate hallmarks of the defense program known as PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI). Interestingly, certain Salmonella strains carry mutations in the flg22 domain triggering PTI, suggesting that a strategy of Salmonella is to escape plant detection by mutating PAMP motifs. Another strategy may rely on the type III secretion system (T3SS) as T3SS mutants were found to induce stronger plant defense responses than wild type bacteria. Although Salmonella effector delivery into plant cells has not been shown, expression of Salmonella effectors in plant tissues shows that these bacteria also possess powerful means to manipulate the plant immune system. Altogether, the data gathered suggest that Salmonella triggers PTI in plants and evolved strategies to avoid or subvert plant immunity.
Genes encoding the virulence-promoting type III secretion system (T3SS) in phytopathogenic bacteria are induced at the start of infection, indicating that recognition of signals from the host plant initiates this response. However, the precise nature of these signals and whether their concentrations can be altered to affect the biological outcome of host–pathogen interactions remain speculative. Here we use a metabolomic comparison of resistant and susceptible genotypes to identify plant-derived metabolites that induce T3SS genes in Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 and report that mapk phosphatase 1 (mkp1), an Arabidopsis mutant that is more resistant to bacterial infection, produces decreased levels of these bioactive compounds. Consistent with these observations, T3SS effector expression and delivery by DC3000 was impaired when infecting the mkp1 mutant. The addition of bioactive metabolites fully restored T3SS effector delivery and suppressed the enhanced resistance in the mkp1 mutant. Pretreatment of plants with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) to induce PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI) also restricts T3SS effector delivery and enhances resistance by unknown mechanisms, and the addition of the bioactive metabolites similarly suppressed both aspects of PTI. Together, these results demonstrate that DC3000 perceives multiple signals derived from plants to initiate its T3SS and that the level of these host-derived signals impacts bacterial pathogenesis.
Scooped from: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2014
Authors: Zhi-Yang Liu, Li-Fang Zou, Xiao-Bo Xue, Lu-Lu Cai, Wen-Xiu Ma, Li Xiong, Zhi-Yuan Ji and Gong-You Chen.
The type III secretion system (T3SS), encoded by hrp (hypersensitive response and pathogenicity) genes in Gram-negative phytopathogenic bacteria, delivers repertoires of T3SS effectors (T3SEs) into plant cells to trigger the hypersensitive response (HR) in nonhost or resistant host plants and promote pathogenicity in susceptible plants. The expression of hrp genes in Xanthomonas is regulated by two key regulatory proteins, HrpG and HrpX. However, the interactions between hrp gene products in directing T3SE secretion are largely unknown. Here we demonstrated that HrcT of X. oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc) functions as a T3SS component and positively regulates the expression of hrpX. Transcription of hrcT occurs via two distinct promoters, one is with the hrpB operon (T1) and the second (T3) within hrpB7. Via either T1 or T3 promoter, the defect in Hrp phenotype by hrcT deletion was restored in the presence of hrcT only from Xanthomonas species, but not other phytopathogenic bacteria. An N-terminally truncated HrcT was able to bind the hrpX promoter and activate the expression of hrpX, supporting that HrcT is a positive regulator of hrpX. A revised model showing the regulatory interactions between HrcT, HrpX and HrpG is proposed.
Freddy Monteiro's insight:
Glad to know I was following the right path... it was a question of time before seeing this fine-tuning mechanisms described in plant pathogenic bacteria. This is a MUST reference for genetic studies of pathogenicity.
Pathogens play an important part in shaping the structure and dynamics of natural communities, because species are not affected by them equally1, 2. A shared goal of ecology and epidemiology is to predict when a species is most vulnerable to disease. A leading hypothesis asserts that the impact of disease should increase with host abundance, producing a ‘rare-species advantage’3, 4, 5. However, the impact of a pathogen may be decoupled from host abundance, because most pathogens infect more than one species, leading to pathogen spillover onto closely related species6, 7. Here we show that the phylogenetic and ecological structure of the surrounding community can be important predictors of disease pressure. We found that the amount of tissue lost to disease increased with the relative abundance of a species across a grassland plant community, and that this rare-species advantage had an additional phylogenetic component: disease pressure was stronger on species with many close relatives. We used a global model of pathogen sharing as a function of relatedness between hosts, which provided a robust predictor of relative disease pressure at the local scale. In our grassland, the total amount of disease was most accurately explained not by the abundance of the focal host alone, but by the abundance of all species in the community weighted by their phylogenetic distance to the host. Furthermore, the model strongly predicted observed disease pressure for 44 novel host species we introduced experimentally to our study site, providing evidence for a mechanism to explain why phylogenetically rare species are more likely to become invasive when introduced8, 9. Our results demonstrate how the phylogenetic and ecological structure of communities can have a key role in disease dynamics, with implications for the maintenance of biodiversity, biotic resistance against introduced weeds, and the success of managed plants in agriculture and forestry.
Authors: Mark McMullan,Anastasia Gardiner,Kate Bailey,Eric Kemen,Ben J Ward,Volkan Cevik,Alexandre Robert-Seilaniantz,Torsten Schultz-Larsen,Alexi Balmuth,Eric Holub,Cock van Oosterhout, Jonathan D G Jones
How generalist parasites with wide host ranges can evolve is a central question in parasite evolution. Albugo candida is an obligate biotrophic parasite that consists of many physiological races that each specialize on distinct Brassicaceae host species. By analyzing genome sequence assemblies of five isolates, we show they represent three races that are genetically diverged by ~1%. Despite this divergence, their genomes are mosaic-like, with ~25% being introgressed from other races. Sequential infection experiments show that infection by adapted races enables subsequent infection of hosts by normally non-infecting races. This facilitates introgression and the exchange of effector repertoires, and may enable the evolution of novel races that can undergo clonal population expansion on new hosts. We discuss recent studies on hybridization in other eukaryotes such as yeast, Heliconius butterflies, Darwin's finches, sunflowers and cichlid fishes, and the implications of introgression for pathogen evolution in an agro-ecological environment.
The Gram-positive bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis (Cmm) causes wilt and canker disease of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Mechanisms of Cmm pathogenicity and tomato response to Cmm infection are not well understood. To explore the interaction between Cmm and tomato, multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) and tandem mass spectrometry were used to analyze in vitro and in planta generated samples. The results show that during infection Cmm senses the plant environment, transmits signals, induces, and then secretes multiple hydrolytic enzymes, including serine proteases of the Pat-1, Ppa, and Sbt familes, the CelA, XysA, and NagA glycosyl hydrolases, and other cell wall-degrading enzymes. Tomato induction of pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, LOX1, and other defense-related proteins during infection indicates that the plant senses the invading bacterium and mounts a basal defense response, although partial with some suppressed components including class III peroxidases and a secreted serine peptidase. The tomato ethylene-synthesizing enzyme ACC-oxidase was induced during infection with the wild-typeCmm but not during infection with an endophytic Cmm strain, identifying Cmm-triggered host synthesis of ethylene as an important factor in disease symptom development. The proteomic data were also used to improve Cmm genome annotation, and thousands of Cmm gene models were confirmed or expanded.
Although the quantitative characterization of growth phenotypes is of key importance for the understanding of essential networks driving plant growth, the majority of growth-related genes is still being identified based on qualitative visual observations and/or single endpoint quantitative measurements. We developed an IGIS, an In vitro Growth Imaging System to perform time-resolved analysis of rosette growth. With this system, Arabidopsis plants are grown in Petri dishes mounted on a rotating disk and pictures from each plate are taken on an hourly basis. Automated image analysis was developed in order to extract several growth-related parameters, such as projected rosette area, rosette relative growth rate, compactness and stockiness, over time. To illustrate the use of the platform and the resulting data, we present the growth response of Col-0 plants subjected to three different mild stress conditions. Although at 19 DAS the reduction in rosette area was relatively similar, the time-lapse analysis demonstrated that plants react differently to salt, osmotic and oxidative stress. Rosette area was altered at different moments during development, but also leaf movement and shape parameters were affected differently. We also used the IGIS to analyze in detail the growth behavior of mutants showing enhanced leaf size. The analysis of several growth-related parameters overtime in these mutants revealed several particularities in growth behavior, underlining the high complexity of leaf growth coordination. These results demonstrate that time-resolved imaging of in vitro rosette growth generates a better understanding of growth phenotypes compared to endpoint measurements.
Freddy Monteiro's insight:
In vitro Growth Imaging System for Arabidopsis development
Authors: Jennifer E. Dawson, Jolita Šečkutė, Soumya De, Samuel A. Schueler, Aaron B. Oswald and Linda K. Nicholson.
Pathogenic bacteria have developed extraordinary strategies for invading host cells. The highly conserved type III secretion system (T3SS) provides a regulated conduit between the bacterial and host cytoplasm for delivery of a specific set of bacterial effector proteins that serve to disrupt host signaling and metabolism for the benefit of the bacterium. Remarkably, the inner diameter of the T3SS apparatus requires that effector proteins pass through in at least a partially unfolded form. AvrPto, an effector protein of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, adopts a helical bundle fold of low stability (ΔGF→U = 2 kcal/mol at pH 7, 26.6 °C) and offers a model system for chaperone-independent secretion. P. syringae effector proteins encounter a pH gradient as they translocate from the bacterial cytoplasm (mildly acidic) into the host cell (neutral). Here, we demonstrate that AvrPto possesses a pH-sensitive folding switch controlled by conserved residue H87 that operates precisely in the pH range expected between the bacterial and host cytoplasm environments. These results provide a mechanism for how a bacterial effector protein employs an intrinsic pH sensor to unfold for translocation via the T3SS and refold once in the host cytoplasm and provide fundamental insights for developing strategies for delivery of engineered therapeutic proteins to target tissues.
Authors: Duraisamy Prasath, Raveendran Karthika, Naduva Thadath Habeeba, Erinjery Jose Suraby, Ottakandathil Babu Rosana, Avaroth Shaji, Santhosh Joseph Eapen, Uday Deshpande and Muthuswamy Anandaraj
Bacterial wilt in ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) caused by Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the most important production constraints in tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperature regions of the world. Lack of resistant genotype adds constraints to the crop management. However, mango ginger (Curcuma amada Roxb.), which is resistant to R. solanacearum, is a potential donor, if the exact mechanism of resistance is understood. To identify genes involved in resistance to R. solanacearum, we have sequenced the transcriptome from wilt-sensitive ginger and wilt-resistant mango ginger using Illumina sequencing technology. A total of 26387032 and 22268804 paired-end reads were obtained after quality filtering for C. amada and Z. officinale, respectively. A total of 36359 and 32312 assembled transcript sequences were obtained from both the species. The functions of the unigenes cover a diverse set of molecular functions and biological processes, among which we identified a large number of genes associated with resistance to stresses and response to biotic stimuli. Large scale expression profiling showed that many of the disease resistance related genes were expressed more in C. amada. Comparative analysis also identified genes belonging to different pathways of plant defense against biotic stresses that are differentially expressed in either ginger or mango ginger. The identification of many defense related genes differentially expressed provides many insights to the resistance mechanism to R. solanacearum and for studying potential pathways involved in responses to pathogen. Also, several candidate genes that may underline the difference in resistance to R. solanacearum between ginger and mango ginger were identified. Finally, we have developed a web resource, ginger transcriptome database, which provides public access to the data. Our study is among the first to demonstrate the use of Illumina short read sequencing for de novo transcriptome assembly and comparison in non-model species of Zingiberaceae.
Scooped from: The Plant Cell 2014 Authors: Radka Slovak, Christian Göschl, Xiaoxue Su, Koji Shimotani, Takashi Shiina and Wolfgang Busch
Large-scale phenotyping of multicellular organisms is one of the current challenges in biology. We present a comprehensive and scalable pipeline that allows for the efficient phenotyping of root growth traits on a large scale. This includes a high-resolution, low-cost acquisition setup as well as the automated image processing software BRAT. We assess the performance of this pipeline in Arabidopsis thaliana under multiple growth conditions and show its utility by performing genome-wide association studies on 16 root growth traits quantified by BRAT each day during a 5-d time-course experiment. The most significantly associated genome region for root growth rate is a locus encoding a calcium sensing receptor. We find that loss of function and overexpression of this gene can significantly alter root growth in a growth condition dependent manner and that the minor natural allele of the Calcium Sensor Receptor locus is highly significantly enriched in populations in coastal areas, demonstrating the power of our approach to identify regulators of root growth that might have adaptive relevance.
Freddy Monteiro's insight:
An impressive set-up that SIGNIFICATIVELY reduces the time of image (root length phenotypes) analysis.
Authors: Mr. Noam Eckshtain-Levi , Mrs. Tamar Munitz , Miss Marija Živanović , Mr. Sy Mamadou Traore , Mrs. Cathrin Spröer , Prof. Bingyu Zhao , Prof. Gregory Welbaum , Dr. Ron Ricardo Walcott PhD , Dr. Johannes Sikorski and Dr. Saul Burdman
Acidovorax citrulli causes bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) of cucurbits, a serious economic threat to watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) and melon (Cucumis melo) production worldwide. Based on genetic and biochemical traits, A. citrulli strains have been divided into two distinct groups: group I strains have been mainly isolated from various non-watermelon hosts, while group II strains have been generally isolated from and are highly virulent on watermelon. The pathogen depends on a functional type III secretion system (T3SS) for pathogenicity. Annotation of the genome of the group II strain, AAC00-1, revealed eleven genes encoding putative type III secreted (T3S) effectors. Due to the crucial role of type III secretion for A. citrulli pathogenicity, we hypothesized that group I and II strains differ in their T3S effector repertoire. Comparative analysis of the eleven effector genes from a collection of 22 A. citrulli strains confirmed this hypothesis. Moreover, this analysis led to the identification of a third A. citrulli group, which was supported by DNA:DNA hybridization, DNA fingerprinting, multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) of conserved genes and virulence assays. The effector genes assessed in this study are homologous of effectors from other plant pathogenic bacteria, mainly belonging to Xanthomonas species and Ralstonia solanacearum. Analyses of the effective number of codons and GC content of effector genes relative to a representative set of housekeeping genes support that these effector genes were acquired by lateral gene transfer. Further investigation is required to identify new T3S effectors of A. citrulli and to determine their contribution to virulence and host preferential association.
Topic Editors: Martin Grube, Michael Schloter, Kornelia Smalla and Gabriele Berg.
The study of plant-microbe associations by new techniques has significantly improved our understanding of the structure and specificity of the plant microbiome. Yet, microbiome function and the importance of the plant’s microbiome in the context of human and plant health are largely unexplored. Comparable with our human microbiome, millions of microbes inhabit plants, forming complex ecological communities that influence plant growth and health through its collective metabolic activities and host interactions. Viewing the microbiota from an ecological perspective can provide insight into how to promote plant health and stress tolerance of their hosts or how to adapt to a changing climate by targeting this microbial community. Moreover, the plant microbiome has a substantial impact on human health by influencing our gut microbiome by eating raw plants such as lettuce and herbs and but also by influencing the microbiome of our environment through airflow. This research topic will highlight the current knowledge regarding plant microbiomes, their specificity, diversity and function. Especially welcome are articles focused on the microbiomes of fresh edible plants and their impact on human health. Furthermore all applied aspects studying the management of plant microbiomes to enhance plant growth, health quality and stress tolerance are encouraged.
Scooped from: BMC Genomics, 2014 Authors: Ana M Bocsanczy, Ute CM Achenbach, Arianna Mangravita-Novo, Marjorie Chow and David J Norman
Summary: Background Ralstonia solanacearum, the causal agent of bacterial wilt, is a genetically diverse bacterial plant pathogen present in tropical and subtropical regions of the world that infects more than 200 plant species, including economically important solanaceous crops. Most strains of R. solanacearum are only pathogenic at temperatures between 25 to 30°C with strains that can cause disease below 20°C considered a threat to agriculture in temperate areas. Identifying key molecular factors that distinguish strains virulent at cold temperatures from ones that are not is needed to develop effective management tools for this pathogen. We compared protein profiles of two strains virulent at low temperature and two strains not virulent at low temperature when incubated in the rhizosphere of tomato seedlings at 30 and 18°C using quantitative 2D DIGE gel methods. Spot intensities were quantified and compared, and differentially expressed proteins were sequenced and identified by mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Results Four hundred and eighteen (418) differentially expressed protein spots sequenced produced 101 unique proteins. The identified proteins were classified in the Gene Ontology biological processes categories of metabolism, cell processes, stress response, transport, secretion, motility, and virulence. Identified virulence factors included catalase (KatE), exoglucanase A (ChbA), drug efflux pump, and twitching motility porin (PilQ). Other proteins identified included two components of a putative type VI secretion system. We confirmed differential expression of 13 candidate genes using real time PCR techniques. Global regulators HrpB and HrpG also had temperature dependent expression when quantified by real time PCR. Conclusions The putative involvement of the identified proteins in virulence at low temperature is discussed. The discovery of a functional type VI secretion system provides a new potential virulence mechanism to explore. The global regulators HrpG and HrpB, and the protein expression profiles identified suggest that virulence at low temperatures can be partially explained by differences in regulation of virulence factors present in all the strains.
Authors: Neha Potnis, José Pablo Soto-Arias, Kimberly N. Cowles, Ariena H. C. van Bruggen, Jeffrey B. Jones and Jeri D. Barak
Salmonella enterica rarely grows on healthy, undamaged plants, but its persistence is influenced by bacterial plant pathogens. The interactions betweenS. enterica, Xanthomonas perforans (a tomato bacterial spot pathogen), and tomato were characterized. We observed that virulent X. perforans, which establishes disease by suppressing pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity that leads to effector-triggered susceptibility, created a conducive environment for persistence of S. enterica in the tomato phyllosphere, while activation of effector-triggered immunity by avirulent X. perforans resulted in a dramatic reduction in S. enterica populations. S. entericapopulations persisted at ∼10 times higher levels in leaves coinoculated with virulent X. perforans than in those where S. enterica was applied alone. In contrast, S. enterica populations were ∼5 times smaller in leaves coinoculated with avirulent X. perforans than in leaves inoculated with S. enterica alone. Coinoculation with virulent X. perforans increased S. enterica aggregate formation; however, S. enterica was not found in mixed aggregates with X. perforans. Increased aggregate formation by S. enterica may serve as the mechanism of persistence on leaves cocolonized by virulent X. perforans. S. enterica association with stomata was altered by X. perforans; however, it did not result in appreciable populations of S. enterica in the apoplast even in the presence of large virulent X. perforans populations. Gene-for-gene resistance against X. perforans successively restricted S. enterica populations. Given the effect of this interaction, breeding for disease-resistant cultivars may be an effective strategy to limit both plant disease and S. enterica populations and, consequently, human illness.
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