The phytoalexin-inducible multidrug efflux pump AcrAB contributes to virulence in the fire blight pathogen, Erwinia amylovora. (1/87)

The enterobacterium Erwinia amylovora causes fire blight on members of the family Rosaceae, with economic importance on apple and pear. During pathogenesis, the bacterium is exposed to a variety of plant-borne antimicrobial compounds. In plants of Rosaceae, many constitutively synthesized isoflavonoids affecting microorganisms were identified. Bacterial multidrug efflux transporters which mediate resistance toward structurally unrelated compounds might confer tolerance to these phytoalexins. To prove this hypothesis, we cloned the acrAB locus from E. amylovora encoding a resistance nodulation division-type transport system. In Escherichia coli, AcrAB of E. amylovora conferred resistance to hydrophobic and amphiphilic toxins. An acrB-deficient E. amylovora mutant was impaired in virulence on apple rootstock MM 106. Furthermore, it was susceptible toward extracts of leaves of MM 106 as well as to the apple phytoalexins phloretin, naringenin, quercetin, and (+)-catechin. The expression of acrAB was determined using the promoterless reporter gene egfp. The acrAB operon was up-regulated in vitro by the addition of phloretin and naringenin. The promoter activity of acrR, encoding a regulatory protein involved in acrAB expression, was increased by naringenin. In planta, an induction of acrAB was proved by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Our results strongly suggest that the AcrAB transport system plays an important role as a protein complex required for virulence of E. amylovora in resistance toward apple phytoalexins and that it is required for successful colonization of a host plant.  (+info)

NorM, an Erwinia amylovora multidrug efflux pump involved in in vitro competition with other epiphytic bacteria. (2/87)

Blossoms are important sites of infection for Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of fire blight of rosaceous plants. Before entering the tissue, the pathogen colonizes the stigmatic surface and has to compete for space and nutrient resources within the epiphytic community. Several epiphytes are capable of synthesizing antibiotics with which they antagonize phytopathogenic bacteria. Here, we report that a multidrug efflux transporter, designated NorM, of E. amylovora confers tolerance to the toxin(s) produced by epiphytic bacteria cocolonizing plant blossoms. According to sequence comparisons, the single-component efflux pump NorM is a member of the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion protein family. The corresponding gene is widely distributed among E. amylovora strains and related plant-associated bacteria. NorM mediated resistance to the hydrophobic cationic compounds norfloxacin, ethidium bromide, and berberine. A norM mutant was constructed and exhibited full virulence on apple rootstock MM 106. However, it was susceptible to antibiotics produced by epiphytes isolated from apple and quince blossoms. The epiphytes were identified as Pantoea agglomerans by 16S rRNA analysis and were isolated from one-third of all trees examined. The promoter activity of norM was twofold greater at 18 degrees C than at 28 degrees C. The lower temperature seems to be beneficial for host infection because of the availability of moisture necessary for movement of the pathogen to the infection sites. Thus, E. amylovora might employ NorM for successful competition with other epiphytic microbes to reach high population densities, particularly at a lower temperature.  (+info)

The Erwinia chrysanthemi EC16 hrp/hrc gene cluster encodes an active Hrp type III secretion system that is flanked by virulence genes functionally unrelated to the Hrp system. (3/87)

Erwinia chrysanthemi is a host-promiscuous plant pathogen that possesses a type III secretion system (TTSS) similar to that of the host-specific pathogens E. amylovora and Pseudomonas syringae. The regions flanking the TTSS-encoding hrp/hrc gene clusters in the latter pathogens encode various TTSS-secreted proteins. DNA sequencing of the complete E. chrysanthemi hrp/hrc gene cluster and approximately 12 kb of the flanking regions (beyond the previously characterized hecA adhesin gene in the left flank) revealed that the E. chrysanthemi TTSS genes were syntenic and similar (>50% amino-acid identity) with their E. amylovora orthologs. However, the hrp/hrc cluster was interrupted by a cluster of four genes, only one of which, a homolog of lytic transglycosylases, is implicated in TTSS functions. Furthermore, the regions flanking the hrp/hrc cluster lacked genes that were likely to encode TTSS substrates. Instead, some of the genes in these regions predict ABC transporters and methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins that could have alternative roles in virulence. Mutations affecting all of the genes in the regions flanking or interrupting the hrp/hrc cluster were constructed in E. chrysanthemi CUCPB5047, a mutant whose reduced pectolytic capacity can enhance the phenotype of minor virulence factors. Mutants were screened in witloof chicory leaves and then in potato tubers and Nicotiana clevelandii seedlings. Mu dII1734 insertion in one gene, designated virA, resulted in strongly reduced virulence in all three tests. virA is immediately downstream of hecA, has an unusually low G+C content of 38%, and predicts an unknown protein of 111 amino acids. The E. chrysanthemi TTSS was shown to be active by its ability to translocate AvrPto-Cya (a P. syringae TTSS effector fused to an adenylate cyclase reporter that is active in the presence of eukaryote calmodulin) into N. benthamiana leaf cells. However, VirA(1-61)-Cya was not translocated into plant cells, and virA expression was not affected by mutations in E. chrysanthemi Hrp regulator genes hrpL and hrpS. Thus, the 44-kb region of the E. chrysanthemi EC16 genome that is centered on the hrplhrc cluster encodes a potpourri of virulence factors, but none of these appear to be a TTSS effector.  (+info)

A family of conserved bacterial effectors inhibits salicylic acid-mediated basal immunity and promotes disease necrosis in plants. (4/87)

Salicylic acid (SA)-mediated host immunity plays a central role in combating microbial pathogens in plants. Inactivation of SA-mediated immunity, therefore, would be a critical step in the evolution of a successful plant pathogen. It is known that mutations in conserved effector loci (CEL) in the plant pathogens Pseudomonas syringae (the Delta CEL mutation), Erwinia amylovora (the dspA/E mutation), and Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii (the wtsE mutation) exert particularly strong negative effects on bacterial virulence in their host plants by unknown mechanisms. We found that the loss of virulence in Delta CEL and dspA/E mutants was linked to their inability to suppress cell wall-based defenses and to cause normal disease necrosis in Arabidopsis and apple host plants. The Delta CEL mutant activated SA-dependent callose deposition in wild-type Arabidopsis but failed to elicit high levels of callose-associated defense in Arabidopsis plants blocked in SA accumulation or synthesis. This mutant also multiplied more aggressively in SA-deficient plants than in wild-type plants. The hopPtoM and avrE genes in the CEL of P. syringae were found to encode suppressors of this SA-dependent basal defense. The widespread conservation of the HopPtoM and AvrE families of effectors in various bacteria suggests that suppression of SA-dependent basal immunity and promotion of host cell death are important virulence strategies for bacterial infection of plants.  (+info)

Expression of bacteriophage phiEa1h lysozyme in Escherichia coli and its activity in growth inhibition of Erwinia amylovora. (5/87)

A 3.3 kb fragment from Erwinia amylovora phage Ea1h in plasmid pJH94 was previously characterized and found to contain an exopolysaccharide depolymerase (dpo) gene and two additional ORFs encoding 178 and 119 amino acids. ORF178 (lyz) and ORF119 (hol) were found to overlap by 19 bp and they resembled genes encoding lysozymes and holins. In nucleotide sequence alignments, lyz had structurally conserved regions with residues important for lysozyme function. The lyz gene was cloned into an expression vector and expressed in Escherichia coli. Active lysozyme was detected only when E. coli cells with the lyz gene and a kanamycin-resistance cassette were grown in the presence of kanamycin. Growth of Erw. amylovora was inhibited after addition of enzyme exceeding a threshold for lysozyme to target cells. When immature pears were soaked in lysates of induced cells, symptoms such as ooze formation and necrosis were retarded or inhibited after inoculation with Erw. amylovora.  (+info)

Nucleotide sequences, genetic organization, and distribution of pEU30 and pEL60 from Erwinia amylovora. (6/87)

The nucleotide sequences, genetic organization, and distribution of plasmids pEU30 (30,314 bp) and pEL60 (60,145 bp) from the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora are described. The newly characterized pEU30 and pEL60 plasmids inhabited strains isolated in the western United States and Lebanon, respectively. The gene content of pEU30 resembled plasmids found in plant-associated bacteria, while that of pEL60 was most similar to IncL/M plasmids inhabiting enteric bacteria.  (+info)

Autoinduction in Erwinia amylovora: evidence of an acyl-homoserine lactone signal in the fire blight pathogen. (7/87)

Erwinia amylovora causes fire blight disease of apple, pear, and other members of the Rosaceae. Here we present the first evidence for autoinduction in E. amylovora and a role for an N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL)-type signal. Two major plant virulence traits, production of extracellular polysaccharides (amylovoran and levan) and tolerance to free oxygen radicals, were controlled in a bacterial-cell-density-dependent manner. Two standard autoinducer biosensors, Agrobacterium tumefaciens NTL4 and Vibrio harveyi BB886, detected AHL in stationary-phase cultures of E. amylovora. A putative AHL synthase gene, eamI, was partially sequenced, which revealed homology with autoinducer genes from other bacterial pathogens (e.g., carI, esaI, expI, hsII, yenI, and luxI). E. amylovora was also found to carry eamR, a convergently transcribed gene with homology to luxR AHL activator genes in pathogens such as Erwinia carotovora. Heterologous expression of the Bacillus sp. strain A24 acyl-homoserine lactonase gene aiiA in E. amylovora abolished induction of AHL biosensors, impaired extracellular polysaccharide production and tolerance to hydrogen peroxide, and reduced virulence on apple leaves.  (+info)

Identification of Erwinia amylovora genes induced during infection of immature pear tissue. (8/87)

The enterobacterium Erwinia amylovora is a devastating plant pathogen causing necrotrophic fire blight disease of apple, pear, and other rosaceous plants. In this study, we used a modified in vivo expression technology system to identify E. amylovora genes that are activated during infection of immature pear tissue, a process that requires the major pathogenicity factors of this organism. We identified 394 unique pear fruit-induced (pfi) genes on the basis of sequence similarity to known genes and separated them into nine putative function groups including host-microbe interactions (3.8%), stress response (5.3%), regulation (11.9%), cell surface (8.9%), transport (13.5%), mobile elements (1.0%), metabolism (20.3%), nutrient acquisition and synthesis (15.5%), and unknown or hypothetical proteins (19.8%). Known virulence genes, including hrp/hrc components of the type III secretion system, the major effector gene dspE, type II secretion, levansucrase (lsc), and regulators of levansucrase and amylovoran biosynthesis, were upregulated during pear tissue infection. Known virulence factors previously identified in E. (Pectobacterium) carotovora and Pseudomonas syringae were identified for the first time in E. amylovora and included HecA hemagglutinin family adhesion, Peh polygalacturonase, new effector HopPtoC(EA), and membrane-bound lytic murein transglycosylase MltE(EA). An insertional mutation within hopPtoC(EA) did not result in reduced virulence; however, an mltE(EA) knockout mutant was reduced in virulence and growth in immature pears. This study suggests that E. amylovora utilizes a variety of strategies during plant infection and to overcome the stressful and poor nutritional environment of its plant hosts.  (+info)