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1.  Whole-Genome Sequencing of Erwinia amylovora Strains from Mexico Detects Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in rpsL Conferring Streptomycin Resistance and in the avrRpt2 Effector Altering Host Interactions 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e01229-13.
We report draft genome sequences of three Mexican Erwinia amylovora strains. A novel plasmid, pEA78, was identified. Comparative genomics revealed an rpsL chromosomal mutation conferring high-level streptomycin resistance in two strains. In the effector gene avrRpt2, a single nucleotide polymorphism was detected that overcomes fire blight disease resistance in Malus × robusta 5.
PMCID: PMC3900913  PMID: 24459281
2.  Complete Genome Sequence of Clinical Isolate Pantoea ananatis LMG 5342 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(6):1615-1616.
The enterobacterium Pantoea ananatis is an ecologically versatile species. It has been found in the environment, as plant epiphyte and endophyte, as an emerging phytopathogen, and as a presumptive, opportunistic human pathogen. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of P. ananatis LMG 5342, isolated from a human wound.
PMCID: PMC3294857  PMID: 22374951
3.  Detection of AI-2 Receptors in Genomes of Enterobacteriaceae Suggests a Role of Type-2 Quorum Sensing in Closed Ecosystems 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(5):6645-6665.
The LuxS enzyme, an S-ribosyl-homocysteine lyase, catalyzes the production of the signal precursor for autoinducer-2 mediated quorum sensing (QS-2) in Vibrio. Its widespread occurrence among bacteria is often considered the evidence for a universal language for interspecies communication. Presence of the luxS gene and production of the autoinducer-2 (AI-2) signal have repeatedly been the only evidences presented to assign a functional QS-2 to the most diverse species. In fact, LuxS has a primary metabolic role as part of the activated methyl cycle. In this review we have analyzed the distribution of QS-2 related genes in Enterobacteriaceae by moving the focus of the investigation from AI-2 production to the detection of potential AI-2 receptors. The latter are common in pathogens or endosymbionts of animals, but were also found in a limited number of Enterobacteriaceae of the genera Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pantoea that live in close association with plants or fungi. Although a precise function of QS-2 in these species has not been identified, they all show an endophytic or endosymbiontic lifestyle that suggests a role of type-2 quorum sensing in the adaptation to closed ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC3386761  PMID: 22778662
LuxS; N-acyl homoserine lactone; Erwinia; Pantoea; Salmonella; Serratia; Enterobacter; metabolism; autoinducer; plant pathogen; nitrogen fixation
4.  Diversity, Evolution, and Functionality of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR) Regions in the Fire Blight Pathogen Erwinia amylovora▿† 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(11):3819-3829.
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas system confers acquired heritable immunity against mobile nucleic acid elements in prokaryotes, limiting phage infection and horizontal gene transfer of plasmids. In CRISPR arrays, characteristic repeats are interspersed with similarly sized nonrepetitive spacers derived from transmissible genetic elements and acquired when the cell is challenged with foreign DNA. New spacers are added sequentially and the number and type of CRISPR units can differ among strains, providing a record of phage/plasmid exposure within a species and giving a valuable typing tool. The aim of this work was to investigate CRISPR diversity in the highly homogeneous species Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of fire blight. A total of 18 CRISPR genotypes were defined within a collection of 37 cosmopolitan strains. Strains from Spiraeoideae plants clustered in three major groups: groups II and III were composed exclusively of bacteria originating from the United States, whereas group I generally contained strains of more recent dissemination obtained in Europe, New Zealand, and the Middle East. Strains from Rosoideae and Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) clustered separately and displayed a higher intrinsic diversity than that of isolates from Spiraeoideae plants. Reciprocal exclusion was generally observed between plasmid content and cognate spacer sequences, supporting the role of the CRISPR/Cas system in protecting against foreign DNA elements. However, in several group III strains, retention of plasmid pEU30 is inconsistent with a functional CRISPR/Cas system.
PMCID: PMC3127596  PMID: 21460108
5.  Metabolic Versatility and Antibacterial Metabolite Biosynthesis Are Distinguishing Genomic Features of the Fire Blight Antagonist Pantoea vagans C9-1 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22247.
Pantoea vagans is a commercialized biological control agent used against the pome fruit bacterial disease fire blight, caused by Erwinia amylovora. Compared to other biocontrol agents, relatively little is currently known regarding Pantoea genetics. Better understanding of antagonist mechanisms of action and ecological fitness is critical to improving efficacy.
Principal Findings
Genome analysis indicated two major factors contribute to biocontrol activity: competition for limiting substrates and antibacterial metabolite production. Pathways for utilization of a broad diversity of sugars and acquisition of iron were identified. Metabolism of sorbitol by P. vagans C9-1 may be a major metabolic feature in biocontrol of fire blight. Biosynthetic genes for the antibacterial peptide pantocin A were found on a chromosomal 28-kb genomic island, and for dapdiamide E on the plasmid pPag2. There was no evidence of potential virulence factors that could enable an animal or phytopathogenic lifestyle and no indication of any genetic-based biosafety risk in the antagonist.
Identifying key determinants contributing to disease suppression allows the development of procedures to follow their expression in planta and the genome sequence contributes to rationale risk assessment regarding the use of the biocontrol strain in agricultural systems.
PMCID: PMC3137637  PMID: 21789243
6.  Genome Sequence of the Biocontrol Agent Pantoea vagans Strain C9-1 ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(24):6486-6487.
Pantoea vagans is a Gram-negative enterobacterial plant epiphyte of a broad range of plants. Here we report the 4.89-Mb genome sequence of P. vagans strain C9-1 (formerly Pantoea agglomerans), which is commercially registered for biological control of fire blight, a disease of pear and apple trees caused by Erwinia amylovora.
PMCID: PMC3008540  PMID: 20952567
7.  Application of Whole-Cell Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for Rapid Identification and Clustering Analysis of Pantoea Species ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(13):4497-4509.
Pantoea agglomerans is an ecologically diverse taxon that includes commercially important plant-beneficial strains and opportunistic clinical isolates. Standard biochemical identification methods in diagnostic laboratories were repeatedly shown to run into false-positive identifications of P. agglomerans, a fact which is also reflected by the high number of 16S rRNA gene sequences in public databases that are incorrectly assigned to this species. More reliable methods for rapid identification are required to ascertain the prevalence of this species in clinical samples and to evaluate the biosafety of beneficial isolates. Whole-cell matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) methods and reference spectra (SuperSpectrum) were developed for accurate identification of P. agglomerans and related bacteria and used to detect differences in the protein profile within variants of the same strain, including a ribosomal point mutation conferring streptomycin resistance. MALDI-TOF MS-based clustering was shown to generally agree with classification based on gyrB sequencing, allowing rapid and reliable identification at the species level.
PMCID: PMC2897409  PMID: 20453125
8.  Complete genome sequence of the fire blight pathogen Erwinia pyrifoliae DSM 12163T and comparative genomic insights into plant pathogenicity 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:2.
Erwinia pyrifoliae is a newly described necrotrophic pathogen, which causes fire blight on Asian (Nashi) pear and is geographically restricted to Eastern Asia. Relatively little is known about its genetics compared to the closely related main fire blight pathogen E. amylovora.
The genome of the type strain of E. pyrifoliae strain DSM 12163T, was sequenced using both 454 and Solexa pyrosequencing and annotated. The genome contains a circular chromosome of 4.026 Mb and four small plasmids. Based on their respective role in virulence in E. amylovora or related organisms, we identified several putative virulence factors, including type III and type VI secretion systems and their effectors, flagellar genes, sorbitol metabolism, iron uptake determinants, and quorum-sensing components. A deletion in the rpoS gene covering the most conserved region of the protein was identified which may contribute to the difference in virulence/host-range compared to E. amylovora. Comparative genomics with the pome fruit epiphyte Erwinia tasmaniensis Et1/99 showed that both species are overall highly similar, although specific differences were identified, for example the presence of some phage gene-containing regions and a high number of putative genomic islands containing transposases in the E. pyrifoliae DSM 12163T genome.
The E. pyrifoliae genome is an important addition to the published genome of E. tasmaniensis and the unfinished genome of E. amylovora providing a foundation for re-sequencing additional strains that may shed light on the evolution of the host-range and virulence/pathogenicity of this important group of plant-associated bacteria.
PMCID: PMC2827408  PMID: 20047678
9.  Plant Agricultural Streptomycin Formulations Do Not Carry Antibiotic Resistance Genes▿  
Streptomycin is used in plant agriculture for bacterial disease control, particularly against fire blight in pome fruit orchards. Concerns that this may increase environmental antibiotic resistance have led to bans or restrictions on use. Experience with antibiotic use in animal feeds raises the possible influence of formulation-delivered resistance genes. We demonstrate that agricultural streptomycin formulations do not carry producer organism resistance genes. By using an optimized extraction procedure, Streptomyces 16S rRNA genes and the streptomycin resistance gene strA were not detected in agricultural streptomycin formulations. This diminishes the likelihood for one potential factor in resistance development due to streptomycin use.
PMCID: PMC2704632  PMID: 19414583
10.  Genotypic comparison of Pantoea agglomerans plant and clinical strains 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:204.
Pantoea agglomerans strains are among the most promising biocontrol agents for a variety of bacterial and fungal plant diseases, particularly fire blight of apple and pear. However, commercial registration of P. agglomerans biocontrol products is hampered because this species is currently listed as a biosafety level 2 (BL2) organism due to clinical reports as an opportunistic human pathogen. This study compares plant-origin and clinical strains in a search for discriminating genotypic/phenotypic markers using multi-locus phylogenetic analysis and fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphisms (fAFLP) fingerprinting.
Majority of the clinical isolates from culture collections were found to be improperly designated as P. agglomerans after sequence analysis. The frequent taxonomic rearrangements underwent by the Enterobacter agglomerans/Erwinia herbicola complex may be a major problem in assessing clinical associations within P. agglomerans. In the P. agglomerans sensu stricto (in the stricter sense) group, there was no discrete clustering of clinical/biocontrol strains and no marker was identified that was uniquely associated to clinical strains. A putative biocontrol-specific fAFLP marker was identified only in biocontrol strains. The partial ORF located in this band corresponded to an ABC transporter that was found in all P. agglomerans strains.
Taxonomic mischaracterization was identified as a major problem with P. agglomerans, and current techniques removed a majority of clinical strains from this species. Although clear discrimination between P. agglomerans plant and clinical strains was not obtained with phylogenetic analysis, a single marker characteristic of biocontrol strains was identified which may be of use in strain biosafety determinations. In addition, the lack of Koch's postulate fulfilment, rare retention of clinical strains for subsequent confirmation, and the polymicrobial nature of P. agglomerans clinical reports should be considered in biosafety assessment of beneficial strains in this species.
PMCID: PMC2764716  PMID: 19772624
11.  Lack of genomic evidence of AI-2 receptors suggests a non-quorum sensing role for luxS in most bacteria 
BMC Microbiology  2008;8:154.
Great excitement accompanied discoveries over the last decade in several Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria of the LuxS protein, which catalyzes production of the AI-2 autoinducer molecule for a second quorum sensing system (QS-2). Since the luxS gene was found to be widespread among the most diverse bacterial taxa, it was hypothesized that AI-2 may constitute the basis of a universal microbial language, a kind of bacterial Esperanto. Many of the studies published in this field have drawn a direct correlation between the occurrence of the luxS gene in a given organism and the presence and functionality of a QS-2 therein. However, rarely hathe existence of potential AI-2 receptors been examined. This is important, since it is now well recognized that LuxS also holds a central role as a metabolic enzyme in the activated methyl cycle which is responsible for the generation of S-adenosyl-L-methionine, the major methyl donor in the cell.
In order to assess whether the role of LuxS in these bacteria is indeed related to AI-2 mediated quorum sensing we analyzed genomic databases searching for established AI-2 receptors (i.e., LuxPQ-receptor of Vibrio harveyi and Lsr ABC-transporter of Salmonella typhimurium) and other presumed QS-related proteins and compared the outcome with published results about the role of QS-2 in these organisms. An unequivocal AI-2 related behavior was restricted primarily to organisms bearing known AI-2 receptor genes, while phenotypes of luxS mutant bacteria lacking these genes could often be explained simply by assuming deficiencies in sulfur metabolism.
Genomic analysis shows that while LuxPQ is restricted to Vibrionales, the Lsr-receptor complex is mainly present in pathogenic bacteria associated with endotherms. This suggests that QS-2 may play an important role in interactions with animal hosts. In most other species, however, the role of LuxS appears to be limited to metabolism, although in a few cases the presence of yet unknown receptors or the adaptation of pre-existent effectors to QS-2 must be postulated.
PMCID: PMC2561040  PMID: 18803868
12.  Autoinduction in Erwinia amylovora: Evidence of an Acyl-Homoserine Lactone Signal in the Fire Blight Pathogen 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(9):3206-3213.
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.
PMCID: PMC1082838  PMID: 15838048
13.  Comparison of ATPase-Encoding Type III Secretion System hrcN Genes in Biocontrol Fluorescent Pseudomonads and in Phytopathogenic Proteobacteria 
Type III protein secretion systems play a key role in the virulence of many pathogenic proteobacteria, but they also occur in nonpathogenic, plant-associated bacteria. Certain type III protein secretion genes (e.g., hrcC) have been found in Pseudomonas sp. strain SBW25 (and other biocontrol pseudomonads), but other type III protein secretion genes, such as the ATPase-encoding gene hrcN, have not been found. Using both colony hybridization and a PCR approach, we show here that hrcN is nevertheless present in many biocontrol fluorescent pseudomonads. The phylogeny of biocontrol Pseudomonas strains based on partial hrcN sequences was largely congruent with the phylogenies derived from analyses of rrs (encoding 16S rRNA) and, to a lesser extent, biocontrol genes, such as phlD (for 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol production) and hcnBC (for HCN production). Most biocontrol pseudomonads clustered separately from phytopathogenic proteobacteria, including pathogenic pseudomonads, in the hrcN tree. The exception was strain KD, which clustered with phytopathogenic pseudomonads, such as Pseudomonas syringae, suggesting that hrcN was acquired from the latter species. Indeed, strain KD (unlike strain SBW25) displayed the same organization of the hrpJ operon, which contains hrcN, as P. syringae. These results indicate that the occurrence of hrcN in most biocontrol pseudomonads is not the result of recent horizontal gene transfer from phytopathogenic bacteria, although such transfer might have occurred for a minority of biocontrol strains.
PMCID: PMC520869  PMID: 15345390
14.  Effect of Stress on the Ability of a phlA-Based Quantitative Competitive PCR Assay To Monitor Biocontrol Strain Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0 
A quantitative competitive PCR (QC-PCR) assay targeting the phlA gene of Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0 was developed and tested in vitro. Statistically significant, positive correlations were found between QC-PCR and both CFU and total cell number when studying cells in log or stationary phase. The correlations disappeared when considering stressed cells.
PMCID: PMC152391  PMID: 12514062

Results 1-14 (14)