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Identification of a New Quorum-Sensing-Controlled Virulence Factor in Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica Secreted via the Type II Targeting Pathway

April 2005 , Volume 18 , Number  4
Pages  334 - 342

Mark Corbett , 1 Sam Virtue , 1 Kenneth Bell , 2 Paul Birch , 2 Tom Burr , 1 Lysbeth Hyman , 2 Kathryn Lilley , 1 Susannah Poock , 1 Ian Toth , 2 and George Salmond 1

1Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, CB2 1QW, U.K.; 2Plant-Pathogen Interactions Programme, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, Scotland, DD2 5DA, U.K.

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Accepted 22 November 2004.

Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the secreted proteins of Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica revealed alow-abundance protein that was identified by mass spectrometry as a homologue of a Xanthomonas campestris avirulence protein with unknown function. The predicted Svx protein has an N-terminal signal sequence and zinc binding-region signature, and the mature protein is post-translationally modified. A 2D difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) showed that the protein is secreted by the type II (out) secretion apparatus, which is also responsible for the secretion of the major known virulence factors, PelC and CelV. Transcription of the svx gene is under Nacyl- homoserine lactone-mediated quorum-sensing control. The svx gene was inactivated by transposon insertion. The mutant showed a decrease in virulence in potato plant assays, demonstrating a role for Svx in the pathogenicity of E. carotovora subsp. atroseptica. These results show that Svx is a previously unidentified virulence determinant which is secreted by the out machinery and is regulated by quorum sensing, two systems employed by several other virulence factors. Thus, the type II secretory machine is a conduit for virulence factors other than the main pectinnases and cellulase in E. carotovora subsp. atroseptica.

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society