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The Response Regulator HrpY of Dickeya dadantii 3937 Regulates Virulence Genes Not Linked to the hrp Cluster

March 2008 , Volume 21 , Number  3
Pages  304 - 314

Mee-Ngan Yap,1 Ching-Hong Yang,2 and Amy O. Charkowski1

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin- Madison, 1630 Linden Dr., Madison 53706, U.S.A.; 2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3209 N. Maryland Ave. Milwaukee 53211, U.S.A.

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Accepted 25 October 2007.

HrpX/Y is a putative two-component system (TCS) encoded within the type III secretion system (T3SS) gene cluster of Dickeya dadantii. A linear regulatory cascade initiated by HrpX/Y that leads to activation of the downstream T3SS genes via HrpS and HrpL was described previously. Therefore, in D. dadantii, HrpX/Y plays an important role in regulation of genes involved in bacteria--plant interactions and bacterial aggregation via the T3SS. HrpX/Y is the only TCS shared among the plant-pathogenic enterobacteria that is not also present in animal-associated enterobacteria. To date, the genes known to be regulated by HrpY are restricted to the hrp and hrc genes and no signal has been identified that triggers HrpY-dependent gene expression. We demonstrated that HrpY interacts with the hrpS promoter in vitro. We then used a transposon-based system to isolate previously unidentified HrpY-dependent genes, including genes previously shown to affect virulence, including kdgM and acsC. HrpY is a dual regulator, positively regulating at least 10 genes in addition to those in the hrp gene cluster and negatively regulating at least 5 genes. The regulatory effect on one gene depended on the culture medium used. Of the 16 HrpY-regulated genes identified in this screen, 14 are not present in Pectobacterium atrosepticum, the nearest relative of D. dadantii with a sequenced genome. None of the newly identified HrpY-regulated genes were required for bacterial aggregation; thus, neither acyl-homoserine lactone-mediated quorum sensing nor the Rcs signal transduction system which regulates colanic acid, a molecule that plays an important role in biofilm formation in other enterobacteria, are required for D. dadantii aggregation.

Additional keywords:AHL, arabinose, Erwinia chrysanthemi, siderophore.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society