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Differential Involvement of Indole-3-Acetic Acid Biosynthetic Pathways in Pathogenicity and Epiphytic Fitness of Erwinia herbicola pv. gypsophilae

July 1998 , Volume 11 , Number  7
Pages  634 - 642

Shulamit Manulis , 1 Anat Haviv-Chesner , 2 Maria T. Brandl , 3 Steve E. Lindow , 3 and Isaac Barash 2

1Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; 2Department of Plant Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel; and 3Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, U.S.A.

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Accepted 4 April 1998.

Erwinia herbicola pv. gypsophilae (Ehg), which induces galls on Gypsophila paniculata, harbors two major pathways for indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) synthesis, the indole-3-acetamide (IAM) and indole-3-pyruvate (IPyA) routes, as well as cytokinin biosynthetic genes. Mutants were generated in which the various biosynthetic routes were disrupted separately or jointly in order to assess the contribution of IAA of various origins and cytokinins to pathogenicity and epiphytic fitness. Inactivation of the IAM pathway or cytokinin biosynthesis caused the largest reduction in gall size. Inactivation of the IPyA pathway caused a minor, nonsignificant decrease in pathogenicity. No further reduction in gall size was observed by the simultaneous inactivation of both IAA pathways only or in combination with that of cytokinin production. However, inactivation of the IPyA pathway caused a 14-fold reduction in the population of Ehg on bean plants. Inactivation of the IAM pathway or cytokinin production did not affect epiphytic fitness. While the apparent transcriptional activity of iaaM-inaZ fusion increased slightly in cells of Ehg on bean and gypsophila leaves, compared with that in culture, very high levels of induction were observed in cells injected into gypsophila stems. In contrast, moderate levels of induction of ipdC-inaZ in Ehg were observed on leaves of these plants and in gypsophila stems, when compared with that in culture. These results suggest that the IAM pathway is involved primarily in gall formation and support the main contribution of the IpyA pathway to the epiphytic fitness of this bacterial species.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society