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Effect of Overexpressing rsmA from Pseudomonas aeruginosa on Virulence of Select Phytotoxin-Producing Strains of P. syringae

June 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  6
Pages  575 - 587

Hye Suk Kong, Daniel P. Roberts, Cheryl D. Patterson, Sarah A. Kuehne, Stephan Heeb, Dilip K. Lakshman, and John Lydon

First author: Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland 20852; second, third, sixth, and seventh authors: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705; and fourth and fifth authors: School of Molecular Medical Sciences, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University Park, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.

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Accepted for publication 22 February 2012.

The GacS/GacA two-component system functions mechanistically in conjunction with global post-transcriptional regulators of the RsmA family to allow pseudomonads and other bacteria to adapt to changing environmental stimuli. Analysis of this Gac/Rsm signal transduction pathway in phytotoxin-producing pathovars of Pseudmonas syringae is incomplete, particularly with regard to rsmA. Our approach in studying it was to overexpress rsmA in P. syringae strains through introduction of pSK61, a plasmid constitutively expressing this gene. Disease and colonization of plant leaf tissue were consistently diminished in all P. syringae strains tested (pv. phaseolicola NPS3121, pv. syringae B728a, and BR2R) when harboring pSK61 relative to these isolates harboring the empty vector pME6031. Phaseolotoxin, syringomycin, and tabtoxin were not produced in any of these strains when transformed with pSK61. Production of protease and pyoverdin as well as swarming were also diminished in all of these strains when harboring pSK61. In contrast, alginate production, biofilm formation, and the hypersensitive response were diminished in some but not all of these isolates under the same growth conditions. These results indicate that rsmA is consistently important in the overarching phenotypes disease and endophtyic colonization but that its role varies with pathovar in certain underpinning phenotypes in the phytotoxin-producing strains of P. syringae.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2012.