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The type IV pilus plays a major role during interactions between the bacterial biological control agent Lysobacter enzymogenes and the fungal host Cryphonectria parasitica.
N. PATEL (1), D. Lambert (1), N. Donofrio (2), B. Hillman (1), D. Kobayashi (1). (1) Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A.; (2) University of Delaware, Newark, DE, U.S.A.

<i>Lysobacter enzymogenes</i> is a biological control agent known to produce lytic enzymes and antibiotics. Recent studies indicate the bacterium also uses pathogenicity mechanisms commonly used by pathogens of animals and plants during its interactions with fungal hosts. Amongst these mechanisms is the Type IV pilus (T4P), which is a dynamic filamentous appendage that functions as a major virulence structure. Genes encoding for the assembly and function of the T4P are located in at least six clusters throughout the <i>L. enzymogenes</i> genome. Seven strains containing deletion mutations in different <i>pil</i> genes were constructed and evaluated for changes in phenotypes associated with T4P. While most mutants were affected in polar attachment to fungal host cells, mutants varied in gliding motility and degree of virulence and fungal cell killing during interactions with the fungus <i>Cryphonectria parasitica</i>. These results strongly suggest that T4P contributes an important pathogenicity role during interactions between <i>L.enzymogenes</i> and fungal hosts. Effects of T4P mutants on fungal host gene responses are being assessed.<p><p>Keywords: Bacteria-Phytoplasma-Spiroplasma-Fastidious Prokaryote

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