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Pseudomonas Type III Effector AvrPto Suppresses the Programmed Cell Death Induced by Two Nonhost Pathogens in Nicotiana benthamiana and Tomato

December 2004 , Volume 17 , Number  12
Pages  1,328 - 1,336

Li Kang , 1 Xiaoyan Tang , 2 and Kirankumar S. Mysore 1

1Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK, U.S.A.; 2Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, U.S.A.

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Accepted 30 July 2004.

Many gram-negative bacterial pathogens rely on a type III secretion system to deliver a number of effector proteins into the host cell. Though a number of these effectors have been shown to contribute to bacterial pathogenicity, their functions remain elusive. Here we report that AvrPto, an effector known for its ability to interact with Pto and induce Pto-mediated disease resistance, inhibited the hypersensitive response (HR) induced by nonhost pathogen interactions. Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato T1 causes an HR-like cell death on Nicotiana benthamiana. This rapid cell death was delayed significantly in plants inoculated with P. syringae pv. tomato expressing avrPto. In addition, P. syringae pv. tabaci expressing avrPto suppressed nonhost HR on tomato prf3 and ptoS lines. Transient expression of avrPto in both N. benthamiana and tomato prf3 plants also was able to suppress nonhost HR. Interestingly, AvrPto failed to suppress cell death caused by other elicitors and nonhost pathogens. AvrPto also failed to suppress cell death caused by certain gene-for-gene disease resistance interactions. Experiments with avrPto mutants revealed several residues important for the suppression effects. AvrPto mutants G2A, G99V, P146L, and a 12-amino-acid C-terminal deletion mutant partially lost the suppression ability, whereas S94P and I96T enhanced suppression of cell death in N. benthamiana. These results, together with other discoveries, demonstrated that suppression of host-programmed cell death may serve as one of the strategies bacterial pathoens use for successful invasion.

Additional keywords: nonhost resistance, VIGS.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society