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The Role of Ethylene Production in Virulence of Pseudomonas syringae pvs. glycinea and phaseolicola

May 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  5
Pages  511 - 518

Helge Weingart , Henriette Ullrich , Klaus Geider , and Beate Völksch

First and fourth authors: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Institut für Mikrobiologie, Molekulare Phytopathologie, Winzerlaer Str. 10, D-07745 Jena, Germany; and second and third authors: Max-Planck-Institut für Zellbiologie, Rosenhof, D-68526 Ladenburg, Germany

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Accepted for publication 17 January 2001.

The importance of ethylene production for virulence of Pseudomonas syringae pvs. glycinea and phaseolicola was assayed by comparing bacterial multiplication and symptom development in bean and soybean plants inoculated with ethylene-negative (efe) mutants and wild-type strains. The efe mutants of Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea were significantly reduced in their ability to grow in planta. However, the degree of reduction was strain-dependent. Population sizes of efe mutant 16/83-E1 that did not produce the phototoxin coronatine were 10- and 15-fold lower than those of the wild-type strain on soybean and on bean, and 16/83-E1 produced very weak symptoms compared with the wild-type strain. The coronatine-producing efe mutant 7a/90-E1 reached fourfold and twofold lower population sizes compared with the wild-type strain on soybean and bean, respectively, and caused disease symptoms typical of the wild-type strain. Experiments with ethylene-insensitive soybeans confirmed these results. The virulence of the wild-type strains was reduced to the same extent in ethylene-insensitive soybean plants as the virulence of the efe mutants in ethylene-susceptible soybeans. In contrast, the virulence of Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola was not affected by disruption of the efe gene.

Additional keywords: bacterial growth , ethylene-insensitive plants .

The American Phytopathological Society, 2001