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Dynamic expression of T3SS genes in single cells of Dickeya dadantii during the interaction with potato
Zhouqi Cui: Department of Plant Pathology & Ecology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; Quan Zeng: Department of Plant Pathology & Ecology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; Ching-Hong Yang: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Xiaochen Yuan: Institute of Plant Protection, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences
<div><i>Dickeya dadantii </i>is a bacterial pathogen and causal agent of soft rot on potato and other tuber producing plants. The type III secretion system (T3SS), which induces plant cell death, is an important virulence factor in <i>D. dadantii</i>. The expression of T3SS in is induced in plant apoplast or in Hrp-inducing minimal medium (Hrp-MM). Despite the understanding of induction conditions, how individual cells in a bacterial<i> </i>population respond to the induction signal is not well understood. Our previous studies revealed that when cultured in Hrp-MM, <i>D. dadantii </i>express the T3SS genes in a bi-stable manner: only a small proportion of cells highly expresses T3SS genes, whereas the rest of the population does not express these genes. In this study, we further characterized the T3SS gene expression in single cells of <i>D. dadantii </i>under <i>in vivo </i>conditions, using potato as a model host. Using a dual fluorescence reporter and single-cell techniques, we proved that the expression of T3SS genes in <i>D. dadantii</i> is also bistable in potato apoplast. Furthermore, we characterized the dynamics of “T3SS On” and “T3SS Off” populations at different infection stages and locations. More cells are in the “T3SS On” population at the initial infection stage than in the late infection stage in potato leaves, and more cells are in the “T3SS On” population when inoculated in stems than in leaves. No “T3SS On” cells were observed in tuber. These results implicate that the T3SS bistability might be important for <i>D. dadantii </i>to adapt the hostile host environment.</div>

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