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The PecT Repressor Coregulates Synthesis of Exopolysaccharides and Virulence Factors in Erwinia chrysanthemi

January 1999 , Volume 12 , Number  1
Pages  45 - 52

Guy Condemine , 1 Arnaud Castillo , 1 Fabrice Passeri , 1 and Corine Enard 2

1Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Microorganismes et des Interactions Cellulaires, UMR-CNRS 5577, INSA Bat 406, 20 Av Einstein, 69621 Villeurbanne, France; 2Laboratoire de Pathologie Végétale, INA-PG, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

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Accepted 7 October 1998.

Erwinia chrysanthemi 3937 synthesizes an exopolysaccharide (EPS) composed of rhamnose, galactose, and galacturonic acid. Fourteen transcriptional fusions in genes required for EPS synthesis, named eps, were obtained by Tn5-B21 mutagenesis. Eleven of them are clustered on the chromosome and are repressed by PecT, a regulator of pectate lyase synthesis. In addition, expression of these fusions is repressed by the catabolite regulatory protein, CRP, and induced in low osmolarity medium. The three other mutations are located in genes that are not regulated by pecT. A 13-kb DNA fragment containing pecT-regulated eps genes has been cloned. All the genes identified on this fragment are transcribed in the same orientation and could form a large operon. The promoter region of this operon has been sequenced. It contains a JUMP-start sequence, a sequence required for the expression of polysaccharide-associated operons. E. chrysanthemi 3937 produces a systemic soft rot on its host Saintpaulia ionantha. An eps mutant was less efficient than the wild-type strain in initiating a maceration symptom, suggesting that production of EPS is required for the full expression of the E. chrysanthemi virulence.

© 1999 The American Phytopathological Society