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Use of a Pooled Transposon Mutation Grid to Demonstrate Roles in Disease Development for Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica Putative Type III Secreted Effector (DspE/A) and Helper (HrpN) Proteins

September 2004 , Volume 17 , Number  9
Pages  943 - 950

Maria C. Holeva , Kenneth S. Bell , Lizbeth J. Hyman , Anna O. Avrova , Stephen C. Whisson , Paul R. J. Birch , and Ian K. Toth

Plant-Pathogen Interactions Programme, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, DD2 5DA, U.K.

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Accepted 26 April 2004.

Soft rot Erwinia spp., like other closely related plant pathogens, possess a type III secretion system (TTSS) (encoded by the hrp gene cluster) implicated in disease development. We report the sequence of the entire hrp gene cluster and adjacent dsp genes in Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica SCRI1039. The cluster is similar in content and structural organization to that in E. amylovora. However, eight putative genes of unknown function located within the E. carotovora subsp. atroseptica cluster do not have homologues in the E. amylovora cluster. An arrayed set of Tn5 insertional mutants (mutation grid) was constructed and pooled to allow rapid isolation of mutants for any given gene by polymerase chain reaction screening. This novel approach was used to obtain mutations in two structural genes (hrcC and hrcV), the effector gene dspE/A, and the helper gene hrpN. An improved pathogenicity assay revealed that these mutations led to significantly reduced virulence, showing that both the putative E. carotovora subsp. atroseptica TTSS-delivered effector and helper proteins are required for potato infection.

Additional keywords: functional genomics.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society