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WtsE, an AvrE-Family Effector Protein from Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii, Causes Disease-Associated Cell Death in Corn and Requires a Chaperone Protein for Stability

October 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  10
Pages  1,092 - 1,102

Jong Hyun Ham , 1 , 2 Doris R. Majerczak , 1 Angel S. Arroyo-Rodriguez , 1 David M. Mackey , 2 and David L. Coplin 1

1Department of Plant Pathology, 2Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1087, U.S.A.

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Accepted 22 May 2006.

The pathogenicity of Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii to sweet corn and maize requires a Hrp type III secretion system. In this study, we genetically and functionally characterized a disease-specific (Dsp) effector locus, composed of wtsE and wtsF, that is adjacent to the hrp gene cluster. WtsE, a member of the AvrE family of effector proteins, was essential for pathogenesis on corn and was complemented by DspA/E from Erwinia amylovora. An intact C-terminus of WtsE, which contained a putative endoplasmic reticulum membrane retention signal, was important for function of WtsE. Delivery of WtsE into sweet corn leaves by an Escherichia coli strain carrying the hrp cluster of Erwinia chrysanthemi caused water-soaking and necrosis. WtsE-induced cell death was not inhibited by cycloheximide treatment, unlike the hypersensitive response caused by a known Avr protein, AvrRxo1. WtsF, the putative chaperone of WtsE, was not required for secretion of WtsE from P. stewartii, and the virulence of wtsF mutants was reduced only at low inoculum concentrations. However, WtsF was required for full accumulation of WtsE within the bacteria at low temperatures. In contrast, WtsF was needed for efficient delivery of WtsE from E. coli via the Erwinia chrysanthemi Hrp system.

Additional keywords: DspB/F , Erwinia stewartii , Zea mays .

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society