Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
The influence of canola root exudates on the proteome of Pseudomonas putida UW4 and the mutant strain P. putida UW4/AcdS--, which lacks a functional 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase gene, was examined using two-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis. Seventy-two proteins with significantly altered expression levels in the presence of canola root exudates were identified by mass spectrometry. Many of these proteins are involved in nutrient transport and utilization, cell envelope synthesis, and transcriptional or translational regulation and, hence, may play important roles in plant--bacterial interactions. Four proteins showing large changes in expression in response to canola root exudates in both the wild-type and mutant strains of P. putida UW4 (i.e., outer membrane protein F, peptide deformylase, transcription regulator Fis family protein, and a previously uncharacterized protein) were both overexpressed and disrupted in P. putida UW4 in an effort to better understand their functions. Functional studies of these modified strains revealed significantly enhanced or inhibited plant-growth-promoting abilities compared with the wild-type P. putida UW4, in agreement with the suggested involvement of three of these four proteins in plant--bacterial interactions. The work reported here suggests strategies to both identify potential antibacterial agents and develop bacterial strains that might be useful adjuncts to agriculture. This approach may be an effective means of identifying key proteins mediating the interactions of bacteria with their rhizosphere environment.