Project description:For possible control of fire blight affecting apple and pear trees, we characterized Erwinia amylovora phages from North America and Germany. The genome size determined by electron microscopy (EM) was confirmed by sequence data and major coat proteins were identified from gel bands by mass spectroscopy. By their morphology from EM data, ?Ea1h and ?Ea100 were assigned to the Podoviridae and ?Ea104 and ?Ea116 to the Myoviridae. Host ranges were essentially confined to E. amylovora, strains of the species Erwinia pyrifoliae, E. billingiae and even Pantoea stewartii were partially sensitive. The phages ?Ea1h and ?Ea100 were dependent on the amylovoran capsule of E. amylovora, ?Ea104 and ?Ea116 were not. The Myoviridae efficiently lysed their hosts and protected apple flowers significantly better than the Podoviridae against E. amylovora and should be preferred in biocontrol experiments. We have also isolated and partially characterized E. amylovora phages from apple orchards in Germany. They belong to the Podoviridae or Myoviridae with a host range similar to the phages isolated in North America. In EM measurements, the genome sizes of the Podoviridae were smaller than the genomes of the Myoviridae from North America and from Germany, which differed from each other in corresponding nucleotide sequences.
Project description:The molecular basis of resistance and susceptibility of host plants to fire blight, a major disease threat to pome fruit production globally, is largely unknown. RNA-sequencing data from challenged and mock-inoculated flowers were analyzed to assess the susceptible response of apple to the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora. In presence of the pathogen 1,080 transcripts were differentially expressed at 48 h post inoculation. These included putative disease resistance, stress, pathogen related, general metabolic, and phytohormone related genes. Reads, mapped to regions on the apple genome where no genes were assigned, were used to identify potential novel genes and open reading frames. To identify transcripts specifically expressed in response to E. amylovora, RT-PCRs were conducted and compared to the expression patterns of the fire blight biocontrol agent Pantoea vagans strain C9-1, another apple pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. papulans, and mock inoculated apple flowers. This led to the identification of a peroxidase superfamily gene that was lower expressed in response to E. amylovora suggesting a potential role in the susceptibility response. Overall, this study provides the first transcriptional profile by RNA-seq of the host plant during fire blight disease and insights into the response of susceptible apple plants to E. amylovora.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Pantoea vagans is a commercialized biological control agent used against the pome fruit bacterial disease fire blight, caused by Erwinia amylovora. Compared to other biocontrol agents, relatively little is currently known regarding Pantoea genetics. Better understanding of antagonist mechanisms of action and ecological fitness is critical to improving efficacy.<h4>Principal findings</h4>Genome analysis indicated two major factors Contribute to biocontrol activity: competition for limiting substrates and antibacterial metabolite production. Pathways for utilization of a broad diversity of sugars and acquisition of iron were identified. Metabolism of sorbitol by P. vagans C9-1 may be a major metabolic feature in biocontrol of fire blight. Biosynthetic genes for the antibacterial peptide pantocin A were found on a chromosomal 28-kb genomic island, and for dapdiamide E on the plasmid pPag2. There was no evidence of potential virulence factors that could enable an animal or phytopathogenic lifestyle and no indication of any genetic-based biosafety risk in the antagonist.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Identifying key determinants contributing to disease suppression allows the development of procedures to follow their expression in planta and the genome sequence contributes to rationale risk assessment regarding the use of the biocontrol strain in agricultural systems.
Project description:Monitoring the ability of bacterial plant pathogens to survive in insects is required for elucidating unknown aspects of their epidemiology and for designing appropriate control strategies. Erwinia amylovora is a plant pathogenic bacterium that causes fire blight, a devastating disease in apple and pear commercial orchards. Studies on fire blight spread by insects have mainly focused on pollinating agents, such as honeybees. However, the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae), one of the most damaging fruit pests worldwide, is also common in pome fruit orchards. The main objective of the study was to investigate whether E. amylovora can survive and be transmitted by the medfly. Our experimental results show: i) E. amylovora can survive for at least 8 days inside the digestive tract of the medfly and until 28 days on its external surface, and ii) medflies are able to transmit the bacteria from inoculated apples to both detached shoots and pear plants, being the pathogen recovered from lesions in both cases. This is the first report on E. amylovora internalization and survival in/on C. capitata, as well as the experimental transmission of the fire blight pathogen by this insect. Our results suggest that medfly can act as a potential vector for E. amylovora, and expand our knowledge on the possible role of these and other insects in its life cycle.
Project description:<h4>Key message</h4>pPPO16, the first Ea-inducible promoter cloned from apple, can be a useful component of intragenic strategies to create fire blight resistant apple genotypes. Intragenesis is an important alternative to transgenesis to produce modified plants containing native DNA only. A key point to develop such a strategy is the availability of regulatory sequences controlling the expression of the gene of interest. With the aim of finding apple gene promoters either inducible by the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora (Ea) or moderately constitutive, we focused on polyphenoloxidase genes (PPO). These genes encode oxidative enzymes involved in many physiological processes and have been previously shown to be upregulated during the Ea infection process. We found ten PPO and two PPO-like sequences in the apple genome and characterized the promoters of MdPPO16 (pPPO16) and MdKFDV02 PPO-like (pKFDV02) for their potential as Ea-inducible and low-constitutive regulatory sequences, respectively. Expression levels of reporter genes fused to these promoters and transiently or stably expressed in apple were quantified after various treatments. Unlike pKFDV02 which displayed a variable activity, pPPO16 allowed a fast and strong expression of transgenes in apple following Ea infection in a Type 3 Secretion System dependent manner. Altogether our results does not confirmed pKFDV02 as a constitutive and weak promoter whereas pPPO16, the first Ea-inducible promoter cloned from apple, can be a useful component of intragenic strategies to create fire blight resistant apple genotypes.
Project description:Erwinia amylovora is the causative agent of fire blight, a devastating plant disease affecting members of the Rosaceae Alternatives to antibiotics for control of fire blight symptoms and outbreaks are highly desirable, due to increasing drug resistance and tight regulatory restrictions. Moreover, the available diagnostic methods either lack sensitivity, lack speed, or are unable to discriminate between live and dead bacteria. Owing to their extreme biological specificity, bacteriophages are promising alternatives for both aims. In this study, the virulent broad-host-range E. amylovora virus Y2 was engineered to enhance its killing activity and for use as a luciferase reporter phage, respectively. Toward these aims, a depolymerase gene of E. amylovora virus L1 (dpoL1-C) or a bacterial luxAB fusion was introduced into the genome of Y2 by homologous recombination. The genes were placed downstream of the major capsid protein orf68, under the control of the native promoter. The modifications did not affect viability of infectivity of the recombinant viruses. Phage Y2::dpoL1-C demonstrated synergistic activity between the depolymerase degrading the exopolysaccharide capsule and phage infection, which greatly enhanced bacterial killing. It also significantly reduced the ability of E. amylovora to colonize the surface of detached flowers. The reporter phage Y2::luxAB transduced bacterial luciferase into host cells and induced synthesis of large amounts of a LuxAB luciferase fusion. After the addition of aldehyde substrate, bioluminescence could be readily monitored, and this enabled rapid and specific detection of low numbers of viable bacteria, without enrichment, both in vitro and in plant material.IMPORTANCE Fire blight, caused by Erwinia amylovora, is the major threat to global pome fruit production, with high economic losses every year. Bacteriophages represent promising alternatives to not only control the disease, but also for rapid diagnostics. To enhance biocontrol efficacy, we combined the desired properties of two phages, Y2 (broad host range) and L1 (depolymerase for capsule degradation) in a single recombinant phage. This phage showed enhanced biocontrol and could reduce E. amylovora on flowers. Phage Y2 was also genetically engineered into a luciferase reporter phage, which transduces bacterial bioluminescence into infected cells and allows detection of low numbers of viable target bacteria. The combination of speed, sensitivity, and specificity is superior to previously used diagnostic methods. In conclusion, genetic engineering could improve the properties of phage Y2 toward better killing efficacy and sensitive detection of E. amylovora cells.
Project description:Halophyte <i>Limoniastrum monopetalum</i>, an evergreen shrub inhabiting the Mediterranean region, has well-documented phytoremediation potential for metal removal from polluted sites. It is also considered to be a medicinal halophyte with potent activity against plant pathogens. Therefore, <i>L. monopetalum</i> may be a suitable candidate for isolating endophytic microbiota members that provide plant growth promotion (PGP) and resistance to abiotic stresses. Selected for biocontrol abilities, these endophytes may represent multifaceted and versatile biocontrol agents, combining pathogen biocontrol in addition to PGP and plant protection against abiotic stresses. In this study 117 root culturable bacterial endophytes, including Gram-positive (<i>Bacillus</i> and <i>Brevibacillus</i>), Gram-negative (<i>Proteus</i>, <i>Providencia</i>, <i>Serratia</i>, <i>Pantoea</i>, <i>Klebsiella</i>, <i>Enterobacter</i> and <i>Pectobacterium</i>) and actinomycete <i>Nocardiopsis</i> genera have been recovered from <i>L. monopetalum</i>. The collection exhibited high levels of biocontrol abilities against bacterial (<i>Agrobacterium tumefaciens</i> MAT2 and <i>Pectobacterium carotovorum</i> MAT3) and fungal (<i>Alternaria alternata</i> XSZJY-1, <i>Rhizoctonia bataticola</i> MAT1 and <i>Fusarium oxysporum</i> f. sp. radicis lycopersici FORL) pathogens. Several bacteria also showed PGP capacity and resistance to antibiotics and metals. A highly promising candidate <i>Bacillus licheniformis</i> LMRE 36 with high PGP, biocontrol, metal and antibiotic, resistance was subsequently tested in planta (potato and olive trees) for biocontrol of a collection of 14 highly damaging <i>Fusarium</i> species. LMRE 36 proved very effective against the collection in both species and against an emerging <i>Fusarium</i> sp. threatening olive trees culture in nurseries. These findings provide a demonstration of our pyramiding strategy. Our strategy was effective in combining desirable traits in biocontrol agents towards broad-spectrum resistance against pathogens and protection of crops from abiotic stresses. Stacking multiple desirable traits into a single biocontrol agent is achieved by first, careful selection of a host for endophytic microbiota recovery; second, stringent in vitro selection of candidates from the collection; and third, application of the selected biocontrol agents in planta experiments. That pyramiding strategy could be successfully used to mitigate effects of diverse biotic and abiotic stresses on plant growth and productivity. It is anticipated that the strategy will provide a new generation of biocontrol agents by targeting the microbiota of plants in hostile environments.
Project description:Transcriptional regulators of the AraC/XylS family have been associated with multidrug resistance, organic solvent tolerance, oxidative stress, and virulence in clinically relevant enterobacteria. In the present study, we identified four homologous AraC/XylS regulators, Rob, SoxS, PliA, and OpiA, from the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora Ea1189. Previous studies have shown that the regulators MarA, Rob, and SoxS from Escherichia coli mediate multiple-antibiotic resistance, primarily by upregulating the AcrAB-TolC efflux system. However, none of the four AraC/XylS regulators from E. amylovora was able to induce a multidrug resistance phenotype in the plant pathogen. Overexpression of rob led to a 2-fold increased expression of the acrA gene. However, the rob-overexpressing strain showed increased resistance to only a limited number of antibiotics. Furthermore, Rob was able to induce tolerance to organic solvents in E. amylovora by mechanisms other than efflux. We demonstrated that SoxS from E. amylovora is involved in superoxide resistance. A soxS-deficient mutant of Ea1189 was not able to grow on agar plates supplemented with the superoxide-generating agent paraquat. Furthermore, expression of soxS was induced by redox cycling agents. We identified two novel members of the AraC/XylS family in E. amylovora. PliA was highly upregulated during the early infection phase in apple rootstock and immature pear fruits. Multiple compounds were able to induce the expression of pliA, including apple leaf extracts, phenolic compounds, redox cycling agents, heavy metals, and decanoate. OpiA was shown to play a role in the regulation of osmotic and alkaline pH stress responses.