Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, The University of Chicago, 1103 E. 57th Street, EBC410, Chicago 60637, U.S.A.
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Accepted 13 October 2000.
Gram-negative phytopathogenic bacteria require a type III secretion apparatus for pathogenesis, presumably to deliver Avr effector proteins directly into plant cells. To extend previous studies of Avr effectors that employed plasmids encoding Avr proteins, we developed a system that permits the integration of any gene into the Pseudomonas syringae genome in single copy. With this system, we confirmed earlier findings showing that P. syringae pv. maculicola strain PsmES4326 expressing the AvrRpt2 effector induces a resistance response in plants with the cognate R gene, RPS2. Chromosomally located avrRpt2, however, provoked a stronger resistance response than that observed with plasmid-expressed AvrRpt2 in RPS2+ plants. Additionally, chromosomal expression of AvrRpt2 conferred a fitness advantage on P. syringae grown in rps2- plants, aiding in growth within leaves and escape to leaf surfaces that was difficult to detect with plasmid-borne avrRpt2. Finally, with the use of the genomic integration system, we found that a chimeric protein composed of the N terminus of the heterologous AvrRpm1 effector and the C-terminal effector region of AvrRpt2 was delivered to plant cells. Because the C terminus of AvrRpt2 cannot translocate into plant cells on its own, this indicates that the N-terminal region can direct secretion and translocation during an infection, which supports the view that Avr proteins have a modular design. This work establishes a readily manipulatable system to study type III effectors in a biologically realistic context.
© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society