ABSTRACT: We investigated the genetic diversity, extent of recombination, natural selection, and population divergence of Ralstonia solanacearum samples obtained from sources worldwide. This plant pathogen causes bacterial wilt in many crops and constitutes a serious threat to agricultural production due to its very wide host range and aggressiveness. Five housekeeping genes, dispersed around the chromosome, and three virulence-related genes, located on the megaplasmid, were sequenced from 58 strains belonging to the four major phylogenetic clusters (phylotypes). Whereas genetic variation is high and consistent for all housekeeping loci studied, virulence-related gene sequences are more diverse. Phylogenetic and statistical analyses suggest that this organism is a highly diverse bacterial species containing four major, deeply separated evolutionary lineages (phylotypes I to IV) and a weaker subdivision of phylotype II into two subgroups. Analysis of molecular variations showed that the geographic isolation and spatial distance have been the significant determinants of genetic variation between phylotypes. R. solanacearum displays high clonality for housekeeping genes in all phylotypes (except phylotype III) and significant levels of recombination for the virulence-related egl and hrpB genes, which are limited mainly to phylotype strains III and IV. Finally, genes essential for species survival are under purifying selection, and those directly involved in pathogenesis might be under diversifying selection.
Project description:Ralstonia solanacearum species complex is a devastating group of phytopathogens with an unusually wide host range and broad geographical distribution. R. solanacearum isolates may differ considerably in various properties including host range and pathogenicity, but the underlying genetic bases remain vague. Here, we conducted the genome sequencing of strain EP1 isolated from Guangdong Province of China, which belongs to phylotype I and is highly virulent to a range of solanaceous crops. Its complete genome contains a 3.95-Mb chromosome and a 2.05-Mb mega-plasmid, which is considerably bigger than reported genomes of other R. solanacearum strains. Both the chromosome and the mega-plasmid have essential house-keeping genes and many virulence genes. Comparative analysis of strain EP1 with other 3 phylotype I and 3 phylotype II, III, IV strains unveiled substantial genome rearrangements, insertions and deletions. Genome sequences are relatively conserved among the 4 phylotype I strains, but more divergent among strains of different phylotypes. Moreover, the strains exhibited considerable variations in their key virulence genes, including those encoding secretion systems and type III effectors. Our results provide valuable information for further elucidation of the genetic basis of diversified virulences and host range of R. solanacearum species.
Project description:We used multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) on a worldwide collection of the plant pathogenic Ralstonia solanacearum (Betaproteobacteria) to retrace its complex evolutionary history. Using genetic imprints left during R. solanacearum evolution, we were able to delineate distinct evolutionary complex displaying contrasting dynamics. Among the phylotypes already described (I, IIA, IIB, III, IV), eight groups of strains with distinct evolutionary patterns, named clades, were identified. From our recombination analysis, we identified 21 recombination events that occurred within and across these lineages. Although appearing the most divergent and ancestral phylotype, phylotype IV was inferred as a gene donor for the majority of the recombination events that we detected. Whereas this phylotype apparently fuelled the species diversity, ongoing diversification was mainly detected within phylotype I, IIA and III. These three groups presented a recent expanding population structure, a high level of homologous recombination and evidences of long-distance migrations. Factors such as adaptation to a specific host or intense trading of infected crops may have promoted this diversification. Whether R. solanacearum lineages will eventually evolve in distinct species remains an open question. The intensification of cropping and increase of geographical dispersion may favour situations of phylotype sympatry and promote higher exchange of key factors for host adaptation from their common genetic pool.
Project description:Epidemiological surveillance of plant pathogens based on genotyping methods is mandatory to improve disease management strategies. In the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) islands, bacterial wilt (BW) caused by the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex (RSSC) is hampering the production of many sustainable and cash crops. To thoroughly analyze the genetic diversity of the RSSC in the SWIO, we performed a wide sampling survey (in Comoros, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, and Seychelles) that yielded 1,704 isolates from 129 plots, mainly from solanaceous crops. Classification of the isolates to the four major RSSC phylogenetic groups, named phylotypes, showed that 87% were phylotype I, representing the most prevalent strain in each of the SWIO islands. Additionally, 9.7% were phylotype II, and 3.3% were phylotype III; however, these isolates were found only in Reunion. Phylotype IV (2 isolates), known to be restricted to Indonesia-Australia-Japan, was reported in Mauritius, representing the first report of this group in the SWIO. Partial endoglucanase (egl) sequencing, based on the selection of 145 isolates covering the geographic and host diversity in the SWIO (also including strains from Mayotte and Madagascar), revealed 14 sequevars with Reunion and Mauritius displaying the highest sequevar diversity. Through a multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) scheme based on the partial sequencing of 6 housekeeping genes (gdhA, gyrB, rplB, leuS, adk, and mutS) and 1 virulence-associated gene (egl), we inferred the phylogenetic relationships between these 145 SWIO isolates and 90 worldwide RSSC reference strains. Phylotype I was the most recombinogenic, although recombination events were detected among all phylotypes. A multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme identified 29 sequence types (STs) with variable geographic distributions in the SWIO. The outstanding epidemiologic feature was STI-13 (sequevar I-31), which was overrepresented in the SWIO and obviously reflected a lineage strongly adapted to the SWIO environment. A goeBURST analysis identified eight clonal complexes (CCs) including SWIO isolates, four CCs being geographically restricted to the SWIO, and four CCs being widespread beyond the SWIO. This work, which highlights notable genetic links between African and SWIO strains, provides a basis for the epidemiological surveillance of RSSC and will contribute to BW management in the SWIO.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Ralstonia solanacearum species complex includes thousands of strains pathogenic to an unusually wide range of plant species. These globally dispersed and heterogeneous strains cause bacterial wilt diseases, which have major socio-economic impacts. Pathogenicity is an ancestral trait in R. solanacearum and strains with high genetic variation can be subdivided into four phylotypes, correlating to isolates from Asia (phylotype I), the Americas (phylotype IIA and IIB), Africa (phylotype III) and Indonesia (phylotype IV). Comparison of genome sequences strains representative of this phylogenetic diversity can help determine which traits allow this bacterium to be such a pathogen of so many different plant species and how the bacteria survive in many different habitats. RESULTS: The genomes of three tomato bacterial wilt pathogens, CFBP2957 (phy. IIA), CMR15 (phy. III) and PSI07 (phy. IV) were sequenced and manually annotated. These genomes were compared with those of three previously sequenced R. solanacearum strains: GMI1000 (tomato, phy. I), IPO1609 (potato, phy. IIB), and Molk2 (banana, phy. IIB). The major genomic features (size, G+C content, number of genes) were conserved across all of the six sequenced strains. Despite relatively high genetic distances (calculated from average nucleotide identity) and many genomic rearrangements, more than 60% of the genes of the megaplasmid and 70% of those on the chromosome are syntenic. The three new genomic sequences revealed the presence of several previously unknown traits, probably acquired by horizontal transfers, within the genomes of R. solanacearum, including a type IV secretion system, a rhi-type anti-mitotic toxin and two small plasmids. Genes involved in virulence appear to be evolving at a faster rate than the genome as a whole. CONCLUSIONS: Comparative analysis of genome sequences and gene content confirmed the differentiation of R. solanacearum species complex strains into four phylotypes. Genetic distances between strains, in conjunction with CGH analysis of a larger set of strains, revealed differences great enough to consider reclassification of the R. solanacearum species complex into three species. The data are still too fragmentary to link genomic classification and phenotypes, but these new genome sequences identify a pan-genome more representative of the diversity in the R. solanancearum species complex.
Project description:Ralstonia solanacearum can metabolize ferulic acid (FA) and salicylic acid (SA), two representative phenolic acids, to protect it from toxicity of phenolic acids. Here, we genetically demonstrated a novel phenolic acid decarboxylase regulator (PadR)-like regulator PrhP as a positive regulator on detoxification of SA and FA in R. solanacearum. Although the ability to degrade SA and FA enhances the infection process of R. solanacearum toward host plants, PrhP greatly contributes to the infection process besides degradation of SA and FA. Our results from the growth assay, promoter activity assay, RNA-seq and qRT-PCR revealed that PrhP plays multiple roles in the virulence of R. solanacearum: (1) positively regulates expression of genes for degradation of SA and FA; (2) positively regulates expression of genes encoding type III secretion system (T3SS) and type III effectors both in vitro and in planta; (3) positively regulates expression of many virulence-related genes, such as the flagella, type IV pili and cell wall degradation enzymes; and (4) is important for the extensive proliferation in planta. The T3SS is one of the essential pathogenicity determinants in many pathogenic bacteria, and PrhP positively regulates its expression mediated with the key regulator HrpB but through some novel pathway to HrpB in R. solanacearum. This is the first report on PadR regulators to regulate the T3SS and it could improve our understanding of the various biological functions of PadR regulators and the complex regulatory pathway on T3SS in R. solanacearum.
Project description:Plant xylem fluid is considered a nutrient-poor environment, but the bacterial wilt pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is well adapted to it, growing to 10(8) to 10(9) CFU/g tomato stem. To better understand how R. solanacearum succeeds in this habitat, we analyzed the transcriptomes of two phylogenetically distinct R. solanacearum strains that both wilt tomato, strains UW551 (phylotype II) and GMI1000 (phylotype I). We profiled bacterial gene expression at ~6 × 10(8) CFU/ml in culture or in plant xylem during early tomato bacterial wilt pathogenesis. Despite phylogenetic differences, these two strains expressed their 3,477 common orthologous genes in generally similar patterns, with about 12% of their transcriptomes significantly altered in planta versus in rich medium. Several primary metabolic pathways were highly expressed during pathogenesis. These pathways included sucrose uptake and catabolism, and components of these pathways were encoded by genes in the scrABY cluster. A UW551 scrA mutant was significantly reduced in virulence on resistant and susceptible tomato as well as on potato and the epidemiologically important weed host Solanum dulcamara. Functional scrA contributed to pathogen competitive fitness during colonization of tomato xylem, which contained ~300 µM sucrose. scrA expression was induced by sucrose, but to a much greater degree by growth in planta. Unexpectedly, 45% of the genes directly regulated by HrpB, the transcriptional activator of the type 3 secretion system (T3SS), were upregulated in planta at high cell densities. This result modifies a regulatory model based on bacterial behavior in culture, where this key virulence factor is repressed at high cell densities. The active transcription of these genes in wilting plants suggests that T3SS has a biological role throughout the disease cycle. IMPORTANCE Ralstonia solanacearum is a widespread plant pathogen that causes bacterial wilt disease. It inflicts serious crop losses on tropical farmers, with major economic and human consequences. It is also a model for the many destructive microbes that colonize the water-conducting plant xylem tissue, which is low in nutrients and oxygen. We extracted bacteria from infected tomato plants and globally identified the biological functions that R. solanacearum expresses during plant pathogenesis. This revealed the unexpected presence of sucrose in tomato xylem fluid and the pathogen's dependence on host sucrose for virulence on tomato, potato, and the common weed bittersweet nightshade. Further, R. solanacearum was highly responsive to the plant environment, expressing several metabolic and virulence functions quite differently in the plant than in pure culture. These results reinforce the utility of studying pathogens in interaction with hosts and suggest that selecting for reduced sucrose levels could generate wilt-resistant crops.
Project description:LysR-type transcriptional regulators (LTTRs) are ubiquitous and abundant amongst bacteria and control a variety of cellular processes. Here, we investigated the effect of Rsc1880 (a putative LTTR, hereafter designated as PrhO) on the pathogenicity of Ralstonia solanacearum. Deletion of prhO substantially reduced the expression of the type III secretion system (T3SS) both in vitro and in planta, and resulted in significantly impaired virulence in tomato and tobacco plants. Complementary prhO completely restored the reduced virulence and T3SS expression to that of the wild-type. Moreover, PrhO-dependent T3SS and virulence were conserved amongst R. solanacearum species. However, deletion of prhO did not alter biofilm formation, swimming mobility and in planta growth. The expression of some type III effectors was significantly reduced in prhO mutants, but the hypersensitive response was not affected in tobacco leaves. Consistent with the key regulatory role of HrpB on T3SS, PrhO positively regulated the T3SS through HrpB. Furthermore, PrhO regulated hrpB expression via two close paralogues, HrpG and PrhG, which are two-component response regulators and positively regulate hrpB expression in a parallel manner. However, deletion of prhO did not alter the expression of phcA, prhJ and prhN, which are also involved in hrpB regulation. In addition, PrhO was expressed in a cell density-dependent manner, but negatively repressed by itself. No regulation was observed for HrpB, PhcA and PrhN on prhO expression. Taken together, we genetically demonstrated that PrhO is a novel virulence regulator of R. solanacearum, which positively regulates T3SS expression through HrpG, PrhG and HrpB and contributes to virulence.
Project description:The Ralstonia solanacearum species complex (RSSC) can be divided into four phylotypes, and includes phenotypically diverse bacterial strains that cause bacterial wilt on various host plants. This study used 93 RSSC isolates responsible for potato bacterial wilt in Korea, and investigated their phylogenetic relatedness based on the analysis of phylotype, biovar, and host range. Of the 93 isolates, twenty-two were identified as biovar 2, eight as biovar 3, and sixty-three as biovar 4. Applied to the phylotype scheme, biovar 3 and 4 isolates belonged to phylotype I, and biovar 2 isolates belonged to phylotype IV. This classification was consistent with phylogenetic trees based on 16S rRNA and egl gene sequences, in which biovar 3 and 4 isolates clustered to phylotype I, and biovar 2 isolates clustered to phylotype IV. Korean biovar 2 isolates were distinct from biovar 3 and 4 isolates pathologically as well as genetically - all biovar 2 isolates were nonpathogenic to peppers. Additionally, in host-determining assays, we found uncommon strains among biovar 2 of phylotype IV, which were the tomato-nonpathogenic strains. Since tomatoes are known to be highly susceptible to RSSC, to the best of our knowledge this is the first report of tomato-nonpathogenic potato strains. These results imply the potential prevalence of greater RSSC diversity in terms of host range than would be predicted based on phylogenetic analysis.
Project description:The human pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei possesses multiple type III secretion system (T3SS) gene clusters. One of these, the B. pseudomallei T3SS2 (T3SS2(bp)) gene cluster, which apparently plays no role in animal virulence, is also found in six additional Burkholderia spp. and is very similar to T3SSs found in phytopathogenic Xanthomonas spp. and Ralstonia solanacearum. The T3SS2(bp) gene cluster also encodes an AraC-type regulatory protein (HrpB(bp)) that is an ortholog of HrpB, the master regulator of the R. solanacearum T3SS (T3SS(rso)) and its secreted effectors. Transcriptome analysis showed that HrpB(bp) activates the expression of T3SS2(bp) genes, as well as their orthologs in R. solanacearum. In addition to activating T3SS2(bp), HrpB(bp) also upregulates the expression of ~30 additional B. pseudomallei genes, including some that may confer production of adhesive pili, a polyketide toxin, several putative T3SS2(bp)-secreted effectors, and components of a regulatory cascade. T3SS2(bp) promoter regions were found to contain a conserved DNA motif (p2(bp) box) identical in sequence and position to the hrp(II) box required for HrpB-dependent T3SS(rso) transcription activation. The p2(bp) box is also present in the promoter regions of the essentially identical T3SS found in the very closely related species Burkholderia thailandensis (T3SS2(bt)). Analysis of p2(bp) box mutants showed that it is essential for HrpB(bp)-mediated transcription activation in both species. Although it has been suggested that T3SS2(bp) and T3SS2(bt) may function in phytopathogenicity, we were unable to demonstrate a phytopathogenic phenotype for B. thailandensis in three different plant hosts.
Project description:Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the most devastating phytopathogens and causes bacterial wilt, which leads to severe economic loss due to its worldwide distribution and broad host range. Certain plant-derived compounds (PDCs) can impair bacterial virulence by suppressing pathogenic factors of R. solanacearum. However, the inhibitory mechanisms of PDCs in bacterial virulence remain largely unknown. In this study, we screened a library of coumarins and derivatives, natural PDCs with fused benzene and ?-pyrone rings, for their effects on expression of the type III secretion system (T3SS) of R. solanacearum. Here, we show that umbelliferone (UM), a 7-hydroxycoumarin, suppressed T3SS regulator gene expression through HrpG-HrpB and PrhG-HrpB pathways. UM decreased gene expression of six type III effectors (RipX, RipD, RipP1, RipR, RipTAL, and RipW) of 10 representative effector genes but did not alter T2SS expression. In addition, biofilm formation of R. solanacearum was significantly reduced by UM, though swimming activity was not affected. We then observed that UM suppressed the wilting disease process by reducing colonization and proliferation in tobacco roots and stems. In summary, the findings reveal that UM may serve as a plant-derived inhibitor to manipulate R. solanacearum T3SS and biofilm formation, providing proof of concept that these key virulence factors are potential targets for the integrated control of bacterial wilt.