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Essential Role of Superoxide Dismutase on the Pathogenicity of Erwinia chrysanthemi Strain 3937

June 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  6
Pages  758 - 767

Renata Santos , 1 Thierry Franza , 2 Marie-Lyne Laporte , 2 Christele Sauvage , 2 Danièle Touati , 1 and Dominique Expert 2

1Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Réponses Adaptatives, Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS-Universités Paris 6 et 7, 2 place Jussieu 75251 Paris Cedex 05, France; 2Laboratoire de Pathologie Végétale, UMR 217 INRA/INA P-G/Université Paris 6, 16 rue Claude Bernard 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

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Accepted 20 February 2001.

The sodA gene from Erwinia chrysanthemi strain 3937 was cloned by functional complementation of an Escherichia coli sodA sodB mutant and sequenced. We identified a 639-bp open reading frame, which encodes a protein that is 85% identical to the E. coli manganese-containing superoxide dismutase MnSOD. Promoter elements of this gene were identified by transcriptional mapping experiments. We constructed an E. chrysanthemi ΔsodA mutant by reverse genetics. The ΔsodA mutation resulted in the absence of a cytoplasmic SOD, which displays the same characteristics as those of MnSOD. The ΔsodA mutant was more sensitive to paraquat than the wild-type strain. This mutant could macerate potato tubers, similar to the wild-type strain. In contrast, when inoculated on African violets, the mutant produced, at most, only small necrotic lesions. If the inoculum was supplemented with the superoxide anion-scavenging metalloporphyrin MnTMPyP or purified SOD and catalase, the ΔsodA mutant was able to macerate the inoculated zone. Generation of superoxide anion by African violet leaves inoculated with E. chrysanthemi was demonstrated with nitroblue tetrazolium as an indicator. Therefore, at the onset of infection, E. chrysanthemi cells encounter an oxidative environment and require active protective systems against oxidative damages such as MnSOD to overcome these types of conditions.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society