Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506-5502 U.S.A.
The HopPtoF locus in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 harbors two genes, ShcF and HopF2 (previously named ShcFPto and HopFPto), that encode a type III chaperone and a cognate effector protein, respectively. The HopF2 gene has a rare initiation codon, ATA that was reported to be functional only in mitochondrial genes. Here, we report that the native HopPtoF locus of DC3000 confers an avirulence function in tobacco W38 plants, indicating that the ATA start codon directs the synthesis of a functional effector. However, disruption of HopF2 in DC3000 genome did not alter the bacterial virulence in tomato plants. The HopPtoF locus displayed a measurable virulence activity in two strains of P. syringae pv. tomato when the ATA start codon was changed to ATG, and this change also elevated the avirulence function in W38 plants. HopF2 contains a putative myristoylation site. Mutational analysis indicated that this site is required for plasma membrane localization and virulence and avirulence activities of HopF2.