Anders R. B.
1Department of Plant Biology, Uppsala Genetic Center, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7080, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden; 2Department of Biosciences, Division of Genetics, Box 56, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
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Accepted 15 April 1998.
Production of extracellular, plant cell wall degrading enzymes, the main virulence determinants of the plant pathogen Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora, is coordinately controlled by a complex regulatory network. Insertion mutants in the exp (extracellular enzyme production) loci exhibit pleiotropic defects in virulence and the growth-phase-dependent transcriptional activation of genes encoding extracellular enzymes. Two new exp mutations, designated expA and expS, were characterized. Introduction of the corresponding wild-type alleles to the mutants complemented both the lack of virulence and the impaired production of plant cell wall degrading enzymes. The expA gene was shown to encode a 24-kDa polypeptide that is structurally and functionally related to the uvrY gene product of Escherichia coli and the GacA response regulator of Pseudomonas fluorescens. Functional similarity of expA and uvrY was demonstrated by genetic complementation. The expA gene is organized in an operon together with a uvrC-like gene, identical to the organization of uvrY and uvrC in E. coli. The unlinked expS gene encodes a putative sensor kinase that shows 92% identity to the recently described rpfA gene product from another E. carotovora subsp. carotovora strain. Our data suggest that ExpS and ExpA are members of two-component sensor kinase and response regulator families, respectively. These two proteins might interact in controlling virulence gene expression in E. carotovora subsp. carotovora.
© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society