Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 U.S.A.
The ability of Pseudomonas syringae to grow in planta is thought to be dependent upon the Hrp (type III secretion) system and multiple effector proteins that this system injects into plant cells. ORF5 in the conserved effector locus of the P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 Hrp pathogenicity island was shown to encode a Hrp-secreted protein and to have a similarly secreted homolog encoded in an effector-rich pathogenicity island located elsewhere in the genome. These putative effector genes were designated hopPtoA1 and hopPtoA2, respectively. DNA gel blot analysis revealed that sequences hybridizing with hopPtoA1 were widespread among P. syringae pathovars, and some strains, like DC3000, appear to have two copies of the gene. uidA transcriptional fusions revealed that expression of hopPtoA1 and hopPtoA2 can be activated by the HrpL alternative sigma factor. hopPtoA1 and hopPtoA1/hopPtoA2 double mutants were not obviously different from wild-type P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 in their ability to produce symptoms or to increase their total population size in host tomato and Arabidopsis leaves. However, confocal laser-scanning microscopy of GFP (green fluorescent protein)-labeled bacteria in Arabidopsis leaves 2 days after inoculation revealed that the frequency of undeveloped individual colonies was higher in the hopPtoA1 mutant and even higher in the hopPtoA1/hopPtoA2 double mutant. These results suggest that hopPtoA1 and hopPtoA2 contribute redundantly to the formation of P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 colonies in Arabidopsis leaves.