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Knot Formation Caused by Pseudomonas syringae subsp. savastanoi on Olive Plants Is hrp-Dependent

May 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  5
Pages  484 - 489

A. Sisto , M. G. Cipriani , and M. Morea

Istituto di Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari, CNR, Via G. Amendola, 122/D, 70126 Bari, Italy

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Accepted for publication 8 January 2004.

The virulence of Pseudomonas syringae subsp. savastanoi, which causes hyperplastic symptoms (knots) on olive plants, is associated with secreted phytohormones. We identified a Tn5-induced mutant of P. syringae subsp. savastanoi that did not cause disease symptoms on olive plants although it was still able to produce phytohormones. In addition, the mutant failed to elicit a hypersensitive response in a nonhost plant. Molecular characterization of the mutant revealed that a single Tn5 insertion occurred within an open reading frame encoding a protein 92% identical to the HrcC protein of P. syringae pv. syringae. Moreover, sequence analysis revealed that the gene encoding the HrcC protein in P. syringae subsp. savastanoi was part of an operon that included five genes arranged as in other phytopathogenic bacteria. These results imply that hrp/hrc genes are functional in P. syringae subsp. savastanoi and that they play a key role in the pathogenicity of this plant pathogen.

Additional keywords: hrcC gene, hrpC operon, Olea europaea, olive knot disease.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society