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Rhodococcus fascians Impacts Plant Development Through the Dynamic Fas-Mediated Production of a Cytokinin Mix

September 2010 , Volume 23 , Number  9
Pages  1,164 - 1,174

Ine Pertry,1,2 Katerina Václavíková,3,4 Markéta Gemrotová,3 Lukáš Spíchal,3 Petr Galuszka,4 Stephen Depuydt,1,2 Wim Temmerman,2 Elisabeth Stes,1,2 Annick De Keyser,1,2 Michael Riefler,5 Stefania Biondi,6 Ondrej Novák,3 Thomas Schmülling,5 Miroslav Strnad,3 Petr Tarkowski,3,4 Marcelle Holsters,1,2 and Danny Vereecke1,2,7

1Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, and 2Department of Plant Biotechnology and Genetics, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, 9052 Gent, Belgium; 3Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Palacký University & Institute of Experimental Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR), and 4Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Slechtitelů 11, 783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic; 5Institut für Biologie/Angewandte Genetik, Freie Universität Berlin, 1 Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 6, 4195 Berlin, Germany; 6Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Università di Bologna, via Irnerio 42, 40126 Bologna, Italy; 7Department of Plant Production, University College Ghent, Schoonmeersstraat 52, 9000 Gent, Belgium

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Accepted 28 April 2010.

The phytopathogenic actinomycete Rhodococcus fascians D188 relies mainly on the linear plasmid-encoded fas operon for its virulence. The bacteria secrete six cytokinin bases that synergistically redirect the developmental program of the plant to stimulate proliferation of young shoot tissue, thus establishing a leafy gall as a niche. A yeast-based cytokinin bioassay combined with cytokinin profiling of bacterial mutants revealed that the fas operon is essential for the enhanced production of isopentenyladenine, trans-zeatin, cis-zeatin, and the 2-methylthio derivatives of the zeatins. Cytokinin metabolite data and the demonstration of the enzymatic activities of FasD (isopentenyltransferase), FasE (cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase), and FasF (phosphoribohydrolase) led us to propose a pathway for the production of the cytokinin spectrum. Further evaluation of the pathogenicity of different fas mutants and of fas gene expression and cytokinin signal transduction upon infection implied that the secretion of the cytokinin mix is a highly dynamic process, with the consecutive production of a tom initiation wave followed by a maintenance flow.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society