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Mutations in the Pseudomonas syringae avrRpt2 gene That Dissociate Its Virulence and Avirulence Activities Lead to Decreased Efficiency in AvrRpt2-Induced Disappearance of RIN4

March 2004 , Volume 17 , Number  3
Pages  313 - 321

Melisa T. S. Lim and Barbara N. Kunkel

Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, U.S.A.

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Accepted 20 October 2003.

The avrRpt2 gene from Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato exhibits avirulence activity on Arabidopsis expressing the resistance gene RPS2 but promotes bacterial virulence on susceptible rps2 Arabidopsis. To understand the functional relationship between the avirulence and virulence activities of avrRpt2, we analyzed a series of six avrRpt2 mutants deficient in eliciting the RPS2-dependent hypersensitive response. We show that the mutants are also severely impaired in triggering RSP2-dependent resistance. Four of these mutants are severely impaired in their virulence activity, whereas two alleles, encoding C-terminal deletions of AvrRpt2, retain significant but slightly reduced virulence activity. Thus, the avirulence and virulence activities of avrRpt2 can be genetically uncoupled. We tested the ability of the two C-terminal deletion mutants to trigger AvrRpt2-induced elimination of the Arabidopsis RIN4 protein and show that they retain this activity but are less efficient than wild-type AvrRpt2. Thus, reduced AvrRpt2 virulence activity is correlated with reduced efficiency in the induction of RIN4 disappearance. This suggests that an alteration in kinetics of RIN4 disappearance triggered by the C-terminal deletion mutants may provide the mechanistic basis for the uncoupling of the avirulence and virulence activities of avrRpt2.

Additional keywords: avrRpm1, RPM1.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society