Identification of a pathogenicity island, which contains genes for virulence and avirulence, on a large native plasmid in the bean pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pathovar phaseolicola.
ABSTRACT: The 154-kb plasmid was cured from race 7 strain 1449B of the phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola (Pph). Cured strains lost virulence toward bean, causing the hypersensitive reaction in previously susceptible cultivars. Restoration of virulence was achieved by complementation with cosmid clones spanning a 30-kb region of the plasmid that contained previously identified avirulence (avr) genes avrD, avrPphC, and avrPphF. Single transposon insertions at multiple sites (including one located in avrPphF) abolished restoration of virulence by genomic clones. Sequencing 11 kb of the complementing region identified three potential virulence (vir) genes that were predicted to encode hydrophilic proteins and shared the hrp-box promoter motif indicating regulation by HrpL. One gene achieved partial restoration of virulence when cloned on its own and therefore was designated virPphA as the first (A) gene from Pph to be identified for virulence function. In soybean, virPphA acted as an avr gene controlling expression of a rapid cultivar-specific hypersensitive reaction. Sequencing also revealed the presence of homologs of the insertion sequence IS100 from Yersinia and transposase Tn501 from P. aeruginosa. The proximity of several avr and vir genes together with mobile elements, as well as G+C content significantly lower than that expected for P. syringae, indicates that we have located a plasmid-borne pathogenicity island equivalent to those found in mammalian pathogens.
Project description:The avrPphF gene was cloned from Pseudomonas syringae pathovar phaseolicola (PPH:) races 5 and 7, based on its ability to confer avirulence towards bean cultivars carrying the R1 gene for halo-blight resistance, such as Red Mexican. avrPphF comprised two open reading frames, which were both required for function, and was located on a 154 kb plasmid (pAV511) in PPH: Strain RW60 of PPH:, lacking pAV511, displayed a loss in virulence to a range of previously susceptible cultivars such as Tendergreen and Canadian Wonder. In Tendergreen virulence was restored to RW60 by avrPphF alone, whereas subcloned avrPphF in the absence of pAV511 greatly accelerated the hypersensitive resistance reaction caused by RW60 in Canadian Wonder. A second gene from pAV511, avrPphC, which controls avirulence to soybean, was found to block the activity of avrPphF in Canadian Wonder, but not in Red Mexican. avrPphF also conferred virulence in soybean. The multiple functions of avrPphF illustrate how effector proteins from plant pathogens have evolved to be recognized by R gene products and, therefore, be classified as encoded by avirulence genes.
Project description:The "disease-specific" (dsp) region next to the hrp gene cluster of Erwinia amylovora is required for pathogenicity but not for elicitation of the hypersensitive reaction. A 6.6-kb apparent operon, dspEF, was found responsible for this phenotype. The operon contains genes dspE and dspF and is positively regulated by hrpL. A BLAST search revealed similarity in the dspE gene to a partial sequence of the avrE locus of Pseudomonas syringae pathovar tomato. The entire avrE locus was sequenced. Homologs of dspE and dspF were found in juxtaposed operons and were designated avrE and avrF. Introduced on a plasmid, the dspEF locus rendered P. syringae pv. glycinea race 4 avirulent on soybean. An E. amylovora dspE mutant, however, elicited a hypersensitive reaction in soybean. The avrE locus in trans restored pathogenicity to dspE strains of E. amylovora, although restored strains were low in virulence. DspE and AvrE are large (198 kDa and 195 kDa) and hydrophilic. DspF and AvrF are small (16 kDa and 14 kDa) and acidic with predicted amphipathic alpha helices in their C termini; they resemble chaperones for virulence factors secreted by type III secretion systems of animal pathogens.
Project description:Pseudomonas syringae is a plant pathogen whose pathogenicity and host specificity are thought to be determined by Hop/Avr effector proteins injected into plant cells by a type III secretion system. P. syringae pv. syringae B728a, which causes brown spot of bean, is a particularly well-studied strain. The type III secretion system in P. syringae is encoded by hrp (hypersensitive response and pathogenicity) and hrc (hrp conserved) genes, which are clustered in a pathogenicity island with a tripartite structure such that the hrp/hrc genes are flanked by a conserved effector locus and an exchangeable effector locus (EEL). The EELs of P. syringae pv. syringae B728a, P. syringae strain 61, and P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 differ in size and effector gene composition; the EEL of P. syringae pv. syringae B728a is the largest and most complex. The three putative effector proteins encoded by the P. syringae pv. syringae B728a EEL--HopPsyC, HopPsyE, and HopPsyV--were demonstrated to be secreted in an Hrp-dependent manner in culture. Heterologous expression of hopPsyC, hopPsyE, and hopPsyV in P. syringae pv. tabaci induced the hypersensitive response in tobacco leaves, demonstrating avirulence activity in a nonhost plant. Deletion of the P. syringae pv. syringae B728a EEL strongly reduced virulence in host bean leaves. EELs from nine additional strains representing nine P. syringae pathovars were isolated and sequenced. Homologs of avrPphE (e.g., hopPsyE) and hopPsyA were particularly common. Comparative analyses of these effector genes and hrpK (which flanks the EEL) suggest that the EEL effector genes were acquired by horizontal transfer after the acquisition of the hrp/hrc gene cluster but before the divergence of modern pathovars and that some EELs underwent transpositions yielding effector exchanges or point mutations producing effector pseudogenes after their acquisition.
Project description:The Pseudomonas syringae hrp and hrmA genes controlling pathogenicity and elicitation of the hypersensitive response and the avr genes controlling host range have been shown previously to be regulated by carbon, nitrogen, pH, osmolarity, and hypothetical plant factors. In P. syringae pv. syringae Pss61, inactivation of hrp complementation groups II and XIII reduced expression of a plasmid-borne hrmA'-lacZ fusion. The hrp regions II and XIII were cloned on separate plasmids and shown to enhance the activity of the hrmA promoter in Escherichia coli MC4100 transformants at least 100-fold. The nucleotide sequence of region XIII revealed two open reading frames (hrpR and hrpS) whose deduced products share homology with P. syringae pv. phaseolicola NPS3121 HrpS and are both related to the NtrC family of two-component signal transduction systems. HrpR and HrpS differ from most members of the protein family by lacking an amino-terminal domain which modulates the regulatory activity. A single open reading frame, hrpL, whose product shares homology with AlgU, a putative alternate sigma factor of P. aeruginosa, as well as with the related alternate sigma factors was identified within region II. Key domains are partially conserved. Inactivation of hrpS in Pss61 repressed expression of a plasmid-borne hrpL'-lacZ fusion carried by pYXPL1R, and transformation of MC4100(pYXPL1R) with a plasmid carrying hrpRS increased hrpL promoter activity at least 200-fold. Neither hrpS nor hrpR, when cloned on separate plasmids, activated the hrpL promoter activity individually. The expression of hrpL when directed by a lac promoter was sufficient to express a set of plasmid-borne hrmA'-, hrpJ'-, and hrpZ'-lacZ fusions independently of other hrp genes. The results indicate that hrpRS and hrpL are part of a regulatory cascade in which HrpR and HrpS activate expression of hrpL and HrpL, a putative sigma factor, induces expression of HrpL-responsive genes.
Project description:We have confirmed that the 28,000-molecular-weight (28K) protein encoded by the virA gene of the 90-kilobase Salmonella typhimurium virulence plasmid is a virulence factor. It was previously shown that a Tn5 insertion, vir-22::Tn5, located in the virulence plasmid greatly attenuated virulence for mice and inhibited the production of a 28K protein (P.A. Gulig and R. Curtiss III, Infect. Immun. 56:3262-3271, 1988). Plasmid pYA426 fully complemented vir-22::Tn5 to virulence by increasing splenic infection after oral inoculation and encoded the 28K protein. To identify the virulence gene(s) of pYA426 mutated by vir-22::Tn5, we constructed nested deletions in pYA426 and examined deletion derivatives for their abilities to complement vir-22::Tn5. Only derivatives still producing the 28K protein complemented vir-22::Tn5. Furthermore, the smallest complementing derivative encoded only the 28K protein, as determined by DNA sequence analysis. Therefore, the 28K protein is sufficient for complementation of the attenuating mutation vir-22::Tn5 and must be the virulence factor inhibited by the insertion. We determined the nucleotide sequence of the 1.2-kilobase BamHI-EcoRI fragment encoding the 28K protein and identified the structural gene, virA. A 723-base-pair open reading frame which encodes a peptide with a molecular weight of 27,572 was found.
Project description:Background:Pseudomonas syringae is a ?-proteobacterium causing economically relevant diseases in practically all cultivated plants. Most isolates of this pathogen contain native plasmids collectively carrying many pathogenicity and virulence genes. However, P. syringae is generally an opportunistic pathogen primarily inhabiting environmental reservoirs, which could exert a low selective pressure for virulence plasmids. Additionally, these plasmids usually contain a large proportion of repeated sequences, which could compromise plasmid integrity. Therefore, the identification of plasmid stability determinants and mechanisms to preserve virulence genes is essential to understand the evolution of this pathogen and its adaptability to agroecosystems. Results:The three virulence plasmids of P. syringae pv. savastanoi NCPPB 3335 contain from one to seven functional stability determinants, including three highly active toxin-antitoxin systems (TA) in both pPsv48A and pPsv48C. The TA systems reduced loss frequency of pPsv48A by two orders of magnitude, whereas one of the two replicons of pPsv48C likely confers stable inheritance by itself. Notably, inactivation of the TA systems from pPsv48C exposed the plasmid to high-frequency deletions promoted by mobile genetic elements. Thus, recombination between two copies of MITEPsy2 caused the deletion of an 8.3?kb fragment, with a frequency of 3.8?±?0.3?×?10-?3. Likewise, one-ended transposition of IS801 generated plasmids containing deletions of variable size, with a frequency of 5.5?±?2.1?×?10-?4, of which 80% had lost virulence gene idi. These deletion derivatives were stably maintained in the population by replication mediated by repJ, which is adjacent to IS801. IS801 also promoted deletions in plasmid pPsv48A, either by recombination or one-ended transposition. In all cases, functional TA systems contributed significantly to reduce the occurrence of plasmid deletions in vivo. Conclusions:Virulence plasmids from P. syringae harbour a diverse array of stability determinants with a variable contribution to plasmid persistence. Importantly, we showed that multiple plasmid-borne TA systems have a prominent role in preserving plasmid integrity and ensuring the maintenance of virulence genes in free-living conditions. This strategy is likely widespread amongst native plasmids of P. syringae and other bacteria.
Project description:The pPT23A family of plasmids appears to be indigenous to the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and these plasmids are widely distributed and widely transferred among pathovars of P. syringae and related species. pPT23A-family plasmids (PFPs) are sources of accessory genes for their hosts that can include genes important for virulence and epiphytic colonization of plant leaf surfaces. The occurrence of repeated sequences including duplicated insertion sequences on PFPs has made obtaining closed plasmid genome sequences difficult. Therefore, our objective was to obtain complete genome sequences from PFPs from divergent P. syringae pathovars and also from strains of P. syringae pv. syringae isolated from different hosts.The eight plasmids sequenced ranged in length from 61.6 to 73.8 kb and encoded from 65 to 83 annotated orfs. Virulence genes including type III secretion system effectors were encoded on two plasmids, and one of these, pPt0893-29 from P. syringae pv. tabaci, encoded a wide variety of putative virulence determinants. The PFPs from P. syringae pv. syringae mostly encoded genes of importance to ecological fitness including the rulAB determinant conferring tolerance to ultraviolet radiation. Heavy metal resistance genes encoding resistance to copper and arsenic were also present in a few plasmids. The discovery of part of the chromosomal genomic island GI6 from P. syringae pv. syringae B728a in two PFPs from two P. syringae pv. syringae hosts is further evidence of past intergenetic transfers between plasmid and chromosomal DNA. Phylogenetic analyses also revealed new subgroups of the pPT23A plasmid family and confirmed that plasmid phylogeny is incongruent with P. syringae pathovar or host of isolation. In addition, conserved genes among seven sequenced plasmids within the same phylogenetic group were limited to plasmid-specific functions including maintenance and transfer functions.Our sequence analysis further revealed that PFPs from P. syringae encode suites of accessory genes that are selected at species (universal distribution), pathovar (interpathovar distribution), and population levels (intrapathovar distribution). The conservation of type IV secretion systems encoding conjugation functions also presumably contributes to the distribution of these plasmids within P. syringae populations.
Project description:Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii (Pnss) causes Stewart's bacterial wilt of sweet corn and leaf blight of maize. The pathogenicity of Pnss depends on synthesis of extracellular polysaccharide and an Hrp type III secretion system. WtsE, a type III secreted effector protein, is essential for the virulence of Pnss on corn. It belongs to the AvrE family of effectors, which includes DspA/E from Erwinia amylovora and AvrE1 from Pseudomonas syringae. Previously, WtsE was shown to cause disease-associated cell death in its host plant, sweet corn. Here, we examine the biological activity of WtsE in several non-host plants. WtsE induced cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana, tobacco, beet and Arabidopsis thaliana when it was transiently produced in plant cells following agroinfiltration or translocated into plant cells from Pnss, Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola (Pph). WtsE-induced cell death in N. benthamiana, tobacco and beet resembled a hypersensitive response and in N. benthamiana it was delayed by cycloheximide. Interestingly, WtsE strongly promoted the growth of Pnss in N. benthamiana prior to the onset of cell death. Deletion derivatives of WtsE that failed to induce cell death in N. benthamiana and tobacco also did not complement wtsE mutants of Pnss for virulence in sweet corn, indicating a correlation between the two activities. WtsE also induced cell death in A. thaliana, where it suppressed basal defences induced by Pph. Thus, WtsE has growth-promoting, defence-suppressing and cell death-inducing activities in non-host plants. Expression of WtsE also prevented the growth of yeast, possibly due to an innate toxicity to eukaryotic cells.
Project description:Strains of Vibrio vulnificus, a marine bacterial species pathogenic for humans and eels, are divided into three biotypes, and those virulent for eels are classified as biotype 2. All biotype 2 strains possess one or more plasmids, which have been shown to harbor the biotype 2-specific DNA sequences. In this study we determined the DNA sequences of three biotype 2 plasmids: pR99 (68.4 kbp) in strain CECT4999 and pC4602-1 (56.6 kb) and pC4602-2 (66.9 kb) in strain CECT4602. Plasmid pC4602-2 showed 92% sequence identity with pR99. Curing of pR99 from strain CECT4999 resulted in loss of resistance to eel serum and virulence for eels but had no effect on the virulence for mice, an animal model, and resistance to human serum. Plasmids pC4602-2 and pR99 could be transferred to the plasmid-cured strain by conjugation in the presence of pC4602-1, which was self-transmissible, and acquisition of pC4602-2 restored the virulence of the cured strain for eels. Therefore, both pR99 and pC4602-2 were virulence plasmids for eels but not mice. A gene in pR99, which encoded a novel protein and had an equivalent in pC4602-2, was further shown to be essential, but not sufficient, for the resistance to eel serum and virulence for eels. There was evidence showing that pC4602-2 may form a cointegrate with pC4602-1. An investigation of six other biotype 2 strains for the presence of various plasmid markers revealed that they all harbored the virulence plasmid and four of them possessed the conjugal plasmid in addition.
Project description:Expression of the tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid virulence genes of Agrobacterium tumefaciens is required for the transfer of DNA from the bacterium into plant cells, ultimately resulting in the initiation of plant tumors. The vir genes are induced as a result of exposure to certain phenol derivatives, monosaccharides, and low pH in the extracellular milieu. The soil, as well as wound sites on a plant-the usual site of the virulence activity of this bacterium-can contain these signals, but vir gene expression in the soil would be a wasteful utilization of energy. This suggests that mechanisms may exist to ensure that vir gene expression occurs only at the higher concentrations of inducers typically found at a plant wound site. In a search for transposon-mediated mutations that affect sensitivity for the virulence gene-inducing activity of the phenol, 3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxyacetophenone (acetosyringone [AS]), an RND-type efflux pump homologous to the MexE/MexF/OprN pump of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was identified. Phenotypes of mutants carrying an insertion or deletion of pump components included hypersensitivity to the vir-inducing effects of AS, hypervirulence in the tobacco leaf explant virulence assay, and hypersensitivity to the toxic effects of chloramphenicol. Furthermore, the methoxy substituents on the phenol ring of AS appear to be critical for recognition as a pump substrate. These results support the hypothesis that the regulation of virulence gene expression is integrated with cellular activities that elevate the level of plant-derived inducers required for induction so that this occurs preferentially, if not exclusively, in a plant environment.IMPORTANCE Expression of genes controlling the virulence activities of a bacterial pathogen is expected to occur preferentially at host sites vulnerable to that pathogen. Host-derived molecules that induce such activities in the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens are found in the soil, as well as in the plant. Here, we tested the hypothesis that mechanisms exist to suppress the sensitivity of Agrobacterium species to a virulence gene-inducing molecule by selecting for mutant bacteria that are hypersensitive to its inducing activity. The mutant genes identified encode an efflux pump whose proposed activity increases the concentration of the inducer necessary for vir gene expression; this pump is also involved in antibiotic resistance, demonstrating a relationship between cellular defense activities and the control of virulence in Agrobacterium.