Hfq is a global small RNA (sRNA) chaperone that interacts with Hfq-regulated sRNAs and functions in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. In this work, we identified Hfq to be a virulence regulator in the Gram-negative fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora. Deletion of hfq in E. amylovora Ea1189 significantly reduced bacterial virulence in both immature pear fruits and apple shoots. Analysis of virulence determinants in strain Ea1189Δhfq showed that Hfq exerts pleiotropic regulation of amylovoran exopolysaccharide production, biofilm formation, motility, and the type III secretion system (T3SS). Further characterization of biofilm regulation by Hfq demonstrated that Hfq limits bacterial attachment to solid surfaces while promoting biofilm maturation. Characterization of T3SS regulation by Hfq revealed that Hfq positively regulates the translocation and secretion of the major type III effector DspE and negatively controls the secretion of the putative translocator HrpK and the type III effector Eop1. Lastly, 10 Hfq-regulated sRNAs were identified using a computational method, and two of these sRNAs, RprA and RyhA, were found to be required for the full virulence of E. amylovora.
We describe the genetic organization of a copper-resistant plasmid containing copG and cusCBA genes in the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Chromosomal variants of czcCBA and a plasmid variant of cusCBA were present in different P. syringae pathovar strains. Transformation of the copper-sensitive Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae FF5 strain with copG or cusCBA conferred copper resistance, and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) experiments confirmed their induction by copper.
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) comprise a family of short DNA repeat sequences that are separated by non repetitive spacer sequences and, in combination with a suite of Cas proteins, are thought to function as an adaptive immune system against invading DNA. The number of CRISPR arrays in a bacterial chromosome is variable, and the content of each array can differ in both repeat number and in the presence or absence of specific spacers. We utilized a comparative sequence analysis of CRISPR arrays of the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora to uncover previously unknown genetic diversity in this species. A total of 85 E. amylovora strains varying in geographic isolation (North America, Europe, New Zealand, and the Middle East), host range, plasmid content, and streptomycin sensitivity/resistance were evaluated for CRISPR array number and spacer variability. From these strains, 588 unique spacers were identified in the three CRISPR arrays present in E. amylovora, and these arrays could be categorized into 20, 17, and 2 patterns types, respectively. Analysis of the relatedness of spacer content differentiated most apple and pear strains isolated in the eastern U.S. from western U.S. strains. In addition, we identified North American strains that shared CRISPR genotypes with strains isolated on other continents. E. amylovora strains from Rubus and Indian hawthorn contained mostly unique spacers compared to apple and pear strains, while strains from loquat shared 79% of spacers with apple and pear strains. Approximately 23% of the spacers matched known sequences, with 16% targeting plasmids and 5% targeting bacteriophage. The plasmid pEU30, isolated in E. amylovora strains from the western U.S., was targeted by 55 spacers. Lastly, we used spacer patterns and content to determine that streptomycin-resistant strains of E. amylovora from Michigan were low in diversity and matched corresponding streptomycin-sensitive strains from the background population.
Biofilm formation plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Erwinia amylovora and the systemic invasion of plant hosts. The functional role of the exopolysaccharides amylovoran and levan in pathogenesis and biofilm formation has been evaluated. However, the role of biofilm formation, independent of exopolysaccharide production, in pathogenesis and movement within plants has not been studied previously. Evaluation of the role of attachment in E. amylovora biofilm formation and virulence was examined through the analysis of deletion mutants lacking genes encoding structures postulated to function in attachment to surfaces or in cellular aggregation. The genes and gene clusters studied were selected based on in silico analyses. Microscopic analyses and quantitative assays demonstrated that attachment structures such as fimbriae and pili are involved in the attachment of E. amylovora to surfaces and are necessary for the production of mature biofilms. A time course assay indicated that type I fimbriae function earlier in attachment, while type IV pilus structures appear to function later in attachment. Our results indicate that multiple attachment structures are needed for mature biofilm formation and full virulence and that biofilm formation facilitates entry and is necessary for the buildup of large populations of E. amylovora cells in xylem tissue.
Burkholderia cenocepacia AU1054 is an opportunistic pathogen isolated from the blood of a person with cystic fibrosis. AU1054 is a multihost pathogen causing rapid pathogenicity to Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes. Within 24 h, AU1054 causes greater than 50% mortality, reduced growth, emaciated body, distended intestinal lumen, rectal swelling, and prolific infection of the nematode intestine. To determine virulence mechanisms, 3,000 transposon mutants were screened for attenuated virulence in nematodes. Fourteen virulence-attenuated mutants were isolated, and the mutant genes were identified. These genes included paaA, previously identified as being required for full virulence of B. cenocepacia K56-2. Six mutants were restored in virulence by complementation with their respective wild-type gene. One of these contained an insertion in gspJ, predicted to encode a pseudopilin component of the type 2 secretion system (T2SS). Nematodes infected with AU1054 gspJ had fewer bacteria present in the intestine than those infected with the wild type but still showed rectal swelling. The gspJ mutant was also defective in pathogenicity to onion and in degradation of polygalacturonic acid and casein. This result differs from previous studies where no or little role was found for T2SS in Burkholderia virulence, although virulence factors such as zinc metalloproteases and polygalacturonase are known to be secreted by the T2SS. This study highlights strain specific differences in B. cenocepacia virulence mechanisms important for understanding what enables environmental microbes to function as opportunistic pathogens.
Mutagenic DNA repair (MDR) transiently increases mutation rate through the activation of low-fidelity repair polymerases in response to specific, DNA-damaging environmental stress conditions such as ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. These repair polymerases also confer UVR tolerance, intimately linking mutability and survival in bacteria that colone habitats subject to regular UVR exposure.
Here, we investigate adaptive specificity in experimental lineages of the highly UVR-mutable epiphytic plant pathogen Pseudomonas cichorii 302959. Relative fitness measurements of isolates and population samples from replicate lineages indicated that adaptive improvements emerged early in all lineages of our evolution experiment and specific increases in relative fitness correlated with distinct improvements in doubling and lag times. Adaptive improvements gained under UVR and non-UVR conditions were acquired preferentially, and differentially contributed to relative fitness under varied growth conditions.
These results support our earlier observations that MDR activation may contribute to gains in relative fitness without impeding normal patterns of adaptive specificity in P. cichorii 302959.
A collection of 54 clinical and agricultural isolates of Burkholderia cenocepacia was analyzed for genetic relatedness by using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), pathogenicity by using onion and nematode infection models, antifungal activity, and the distribution of three marker genes associated with virulence. The majority of clinical isolates were obtained from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients in Michigan, and the agricultural isolates were predominantly from Michigan onion fields. MLST analysis resolved 23 distinct sequence types (STs), 11 of which were novel. Twenty-six of 27 clinical isolates from Michigan were genotyped as ST-40, previously identified as the Midwest B. cenocepacia lineage. In contrast, the 12 agricultural isolates represented eight STs, including ST-122, that were identical to clinical isolates of the PHDC lineage. In general, pathogenicity to onions and the presence of the pehA endopolygalacturonase gene were detected only in one cluster of related strains consisting of agricultural isolates and the PHDC lineage. Surprisingly, these strains were highly pathogenic in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans infection model, killing nematodes faster than the CF pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 on slow-kill medium. The other strains displayed a wide range of pathogenicity to C. elegans, notably the Midwest clonal lineage which displayed high, moderate, and low virulence. Most strains displayed moderate antifungal activity, although strains with high and low activities were also detected. We conclude that pathogenicity to multiple hosts may be a key factor contributing to the potential of B. cenocepacia to opportunistically infect humans both by increasing the prevalence of the organism in the environment, thereby increasing exposure to vulnerable hosts, and by the selection of virulence factors that function in multiple hosts.
Two-component signal transduction systems (TCSTs), consisting of a histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR), represent a major paradigm for signal transduction in prokaryotes. TCSTs play critical roles in sensing and responding to environmental conditions, and in bacterial pathogenesis. Most TCSTs in Erwinia amylovora have either not been identified or have not yet been studied.
We used a systems approach to identify TCST and related signal transduction genes in the genome of E. amylovora. Comparative genomic analysis of TCSTs indicated that E. amylovora TCSTs were closely related to those of Erwinia tasmaniensis, a saprophytic enterobacterium isolated from apple flowers, and to other enterobacteria. Forty-six TCST genes in E. amylovora including 17 sensor kinases, three hybrid kinases, 20 DNA- or ligand-binding RRs, four RRs with enzymatic output domain (EAL-GGDEF proteins), and two kinases were characterized in this study. A systematic TCST gene-knockout experiment was conducted, generating a total of 59 single-, double-, and triple-mutants. Virulence assays revealed that five of these mutants were non-pathogenic on immature pear fruits. Results from phenotypic characterization and gene expression experiments indicated that several groups of TCST systems in E. amylovora control amylovoran biosynthesis, one of two major virulence factors in E. amylovora. Both negative and positive regulators of amylovoran biosynthesis were identified, indicating a complex network may control this important feature of pathogenesis. Positive (non-motile, EnvZ/OmpR), negative (hypermotile, GrrS/GrrA), and intermediate regulators for swarming motility in E. amylovora were also identified.
Our results demonstrated that TCSTs in E. amylovora played major roles in virulence on immature pear fruit and in regulating amylovoran biosynthesis and swarming motility. This suggested presence of regulatory networks governing expression of critical virulence genes in E. amylovora.
Burkholderia cepacia complex strains are genetically related but phenotypically diverse organisms that are important opportunistic pathogens in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF,) as well as pathogens of onion and banana, colonizers of the rhizospheres of many plant species, and common inhabitants of bulk soil. Genotypic identification and pathogenicity characterization were performed on B. cepacia complex isolates from the rhizosphere of onion and organic soils in Michigan. A total of 3,798 putative B. cepacia complex isolates were recovered on Pseudomonas cepacia azelaic acid tryptamine and trypan blue tetracycline semiselective media during the 2004 growing season from six commercial onion fields located in two counties in Michigan. Putative B. cepacia complex isolates were identified by hybridization to a 16S rRNA gene probe, followed by duplex PCR using primers targeted to the 16S rRNA gene and recA sequences and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the recA sequence. A total of 1,290 isolates, 980 rhizosphere and 310 soil isolates, were assigned to the species B. cepacia (160), B. cenocepacia (480), B. ambifaria (623), and B. pyrrocinia (27). The majority of isolates identified as B. cepacia (85%), B. cenocepacia (90%), and B. ambifaria (76%) were pathogenic in a detached onion bulb scale assay and caused symptoms of water soaking, maceration, and/or necrosis. A phylogenetic analysis of recA sequences from representative B. cepacia complex type and panel strains, along with isolates collected in this study, revealed that the B. cenocepacia isolates associated with onion grouped within the III-B lineage and that some strains were closely related to strain AU1054, which was isolated from a CF patient. This study revealed that multiple B. cepacia complex species colonize the onion rhizosphere and have the potential to cause sour skin rot disease of onion. In addition, the onion rhizosphere is a natural habitat and a potential environmental source of B. cenocepacia.
Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi strains harbor native plasmids belonging to the pPT23A plasmid family (PFPs) which are detected in all pathovars of the related species Pseudomonas syringae examined and contribute to the ecological and pathogenic fitness of their host. However, there is a general lack of information about the gene content of P. savastanoi pv. savastanoi plasmids and their role in the interaction of this pathogen with olive plants. We designed a DNA macroarray containing 135 plasmid-borne P. syringae genes to conduct a global genetic analysis of 32 plasmids obtained from 10 P. savastanoi pv. savastanoi strains. Hybridization results revealed that the number of PFPs per strain varied from one to four. Additionally, most strains contained at least one plasmid (designated non-PFP) that did not hybridize to the repA gene of pPT23A. Only three PFPs contained genes involved in the biosynthesis of the virulence factor indole-3-acetic acid (iaaM, iaaH, and iaaL). In contrast, ptz, a gene involved in the biosynthesis of cytokinins, was found in five PFPs and one non-PFP. Genes encoding a type IV secretion system (T4SS), type IVA, were found in both PFPs and non-PFPs; however, type IVB genes were found only on PFPs. Nine plasmids encoded both T4SSs, whereas seven other plasmids carried none of these genes. Most PFPs and non-PFPs hybridized to at least one putative type III secretion system effector gene and to a variety of additional genes encoding known P. syringae virulence factors and one or more insertion sequence transposase genes. These results indicate that non-PFPs may contribute to the virulence and fitness of the P. savastanoi pv. savastanoi host. The overall gene content of P. savastanoi pv. savastanoi plasmids, with their repeated information, mosaic arrangement, and insertion sequences, suggests a possible role in adaptation to a changing environment.
The pPT23A plasmid family of Pseudomonas syringae contains members that contribute to the ecological and pathogenic fitness of their P. syringae hosts. In an effort to understand the evolution of these plasmids and their hosts, we undertook a comparative analysis of the phylogeny of plasmid genes and that of conserved chromosomal genes from P. syringae. In total, comparative sequence and phylogenetic analyses were done utilizing 47 pPT23A family plasmids (PFPs) from 16 pathovars belonging to six genomospecies. Our results showed that the plasmid replication gene (repA), the only gene currently known to be distributed among all the PFPs, had a phylogeny that was distinct from that of the P. syringae hosts of these plasmids and from those of other individual genes on PFPs. The phylogenies of two housekeeping chromosomal genes, those for DNA gyrase B subunit (gyrB) and primary sigma factor (rpoD), however, were strongly associated with genomospecies of P. syringae. Based on the results from this study, we conclude that the pPT23A plasmid family represents a dynamic genome that is mobile among P. syringae pathovars.
PCR-based subtractive hybridization was used to isolate sequences from Erwinia amylovora strain Ea110, which is pathogenic on apples and pears, that were not present in three closely related strains with differing host specificities: E. amylovora MR1, which is pathogenic only on Rubus spp.; Erwinia pyrifoliae Ep1/96, the causal agent of shoot blight of Asian pears; and Erwinia sp. strain Ejp556, the causal agent of bacterial shoot blight of pear in Japan. In total, six subtractive libraries were constructed and analyzed. Recovered sequences included type III secretion components, hypothetical membrane proteins, and ATP-binding proteins. In addition, we identified an Ea110-specific sequence with homology to a type III secretion apparatus component of the insect endosymbiont Sodalis glossinidius, as well as an Ep1/96-specific sequence with homology to the Yersinia pestis effector protein tyrosine phosphatase YopH.
Sterol demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicides are widely used to control fungi pathogenic to humans and plants. Resistance to DMIs is mediated either through alterations in the structure of the target enzyme CYP51 (encoding 14α-demethylase), through increased expression of the CYP51 gene, or through increased expression of efflux pumps. We found that CYP51 expression in DMI-resistant (DMIR) isolates of the cherry leaf spot pathogen Blumeriella jaapii was increased 5- to 12-fold compared to that in DMI-sensitive (DMIS) isolates. Analysis of sequences upstream of CYP51 in 59 DMIR isolates revealed that various forms of a truncated non-long terminal direct repeat long interspersed nuclear element retrotransposon were present in all instances. Similar inserts upstream of CYP51 were not present in any of 22 DMIS isolates examined.
The ionizing radiation (IR) dose that yields 20% survival (D20) of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 is lower by factors of 20 and 200 than those for Escherichia coli and Deinococcus radiodurans, respectively. Transcriptome analysis was used to identify the genes of MR-1 responding to 40 Gy (D20). We observed the induction of 170 genes and repression of 87 genes in MR-1 during a 1-h recovery period after irradiation. The genomic response of MR-1 to IR is very similar to its response to UV radiation (254 nm), which included induction of systems involved in DNA repair and prophage synthesis and the absence of differential regulation of tricarboxylic acid cycle activity, which occurs in IR-irradiated D. radiodurans. Furthermore, strong induction of genes encoding antioxidant enzymes in MR-1 was observed. DNA damage may not be the principal cause of high sensitivity to IR, considering that MR-1 carries genes encoding a complex set of DNA repair systems and 40 Gy IR induces less than one double-strand break in its genome. Instead, a combination of oxidative stress, protein damage, and prophage-mediated cell lysis during irradiation and recovery might underlie this organism's great sensitivity to IR.
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 HopPtoCEA, and membrane-bound lytic murein transglycosylase MltEEA. An insertional mutation within hopPtoCEA did not result in reduced virulence; however, an mltEEA 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.
We previously reported that Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 is highly sensitive to UVC (254 nm), UVB (290 to 320 nm), and UVA (320 to 400 nm). Here we delineated the cellular response of MR-1 to UV radiation damage by analyzing the transcriptional profile during a 1-h recovering period after UVC, UVB, and UVA exposure at a dose that yields about a 20% survival rate. Although the SOS response was observed with all three treatments, the induction was more robust in response to short-wavelength UV radiation (UVB and UVC). Similarly, more prophage-related genes were induced by short-wavelength UV radiation. MR-1 showed an active detoxification mechanism in response to UVA, which included the induction of antioxidant enzymes and iron-sequestering proteins to scavenge reactive oxygen species. In addition, a great number of genes encoding multidrug and heavy metal efflux pumps were induced following UVA irradiation. Our data suggested that activation of prophages appears the major lethal factor in MR-1 following UVC or UVB irradiation, whereas oxidative damage contributes greatly to the high UVA sensitivity in MR-1.
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.
Members of the pPT23A plasmid family of Pseudomonas syringae play an important role in the interaction of this bacterial pathogen with host plants. Complete sequence analysis of several pPT23A family plasmids (PFPs) has provided a glimpse of the gene content and virulence function of these plasmids. We constructed a macroarray containing 161 genes to estimate and compare the gene contents of 23 newly analyzed and eight known PFPs from 12 pathovars of P. syringae, which belong to four genomospecies. Hybridization results revealed that PFPs could be distinguished by the type IV secretion system (T4SS) encoded and separated into four groups. Twelve PFPs along with pPSR1 from P. syringae pv. syringae, pPh1448B from P. syringae pv. phaseolicola, and pPMA4326A from P. syringae pv. maculicola encoded a type IVA T4SS (VirB-VirD4 conjugative system), whereas 10 PFPs along with pDC3000A and pDC3000B from P. syringae pv. tomato encoded a type IVB T4SS (tra system). Two plasmids encoded both T4SSs, whereas six other plasmids carried none or only a few genes of either the type IVA or type IVB secretion system. Most PFPs hybridized to more than one putative type III secretion system effector gene and to a variety of additional genes encoding known P. syringae virulence factors. The overall gene contents of individual PFPs were more similar among plasmids within each of the four groups based on T4SS genes; however, a number of genes, encoding plasmid-specific functions or hypothetical proteins, were shared among plasmids from different T4SS groups. The only gene shared by all PFPs in this study was the repA gene, which encoded sequences with 87 to 99% amino acid identityamong 25 sequences examined. We proposed a model to illustrate the evolution and gene acquisition of the pPT23A plasmid family. To our knowledge, this is the first such attempt to conduct a global genetic analysis of this important plasmid family.
We systematically investigated the physiological response as well as DNA damage repair and damage tolerance in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 following UVC, UVB, UVA, and solar light exposure. MR-1 showed the highest UVC sensitivity among Shewanella strains examined, with D37 and D10 values of 5.6 and 16.5% of Escherichia coli K-12 values. Stationary cells did not show an increased UVA resistance compared to exponential-phase cells; instead, they were more sensitive at high UVA dose. UVA-irradiated MR-1 survived better on tryptic soy agar than Luria-Bertani plates regardless of the growth stage. A 20% survival rate of MR-1 was observed following doses of 3.3 J of UVC m−2, 568 J of UVB m−2, 25 kJ of UVA m−2, and 558 J of solar UVB m−2, respectively. Photoreactivation conferred an increased survival rate to MR-1 of as much as 177- to 365-fold, 11- to 23-fold, and 3- to 10-fold following UVC, UVB, and solar light irradiation, respectively. A significant UV mutability to rifampin resistance was detected in both UVC- and UVB-treated samples, with the mutation frequency in the range of 10−5 to 10−6. Unlike in E. coli, the expression levels of the nucleotide excision repair (NER) component genes uvrA, uvrB, and uvrD were not damage inducible in MR-1. Complementation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa UA11079 (uvrA deficient) with uvrA of MR-1 increased the UVC survival of this strain by more than 3 orders of magnitude. Loss of damage inducibility of the NER system appears to contribute to the high sensitivity of this bacterium to UVR as well as to other DNA-damaging agents.
Forty replicate lineages of Pseudomonas syringae B86-17 cells expressing the rulAB mutagenic DNA repair (MDR) determinant or the rulB::Km MDR-deficient mutant GWS242 were passaged through single-cell bottlenecks (60 cycles), with a UV radiation (UVR) exposure given to half of the lineages at the beginning of each cycle. After every 10th bottleneck cycle, single-colony isolates from all 80 lineages were subjected to 39 phenotypic screens, with newly arising mutations detected in 60 and 0% of UVR-exposed or non-UVR-exposed B86-17 lineages, respectively, by the 60th cycle. Cellular fitness, measured as growth rate in a minimal medium, of UVR-exposed lineages of both B86-17 and GWS242 after 60 cycles was not significantly different from that of the ancestral strains. Although UVR exposure and MDR activity increased the occurrence of mutations in cells, a significant reduction in overall fitness was not observed.
The effect of solar UV-B radiation on the population dynamics and composition of the culturable bacterial community from peanut (Arachis hypogeae L.) was examined in field studies using plants grown under UV-B−transmitting (UV-B+) or UV-B−excluding (UV-B−) plastic filters. Our data demonstrate that solar UV-B selection alters phyllosphere bacterial community composition and that UV tolerance is a prevalent phenotype late in the season. The total bacterial population size was not affected by either UV-B treatment. However, isolates from the UV-B+ plots (n = 368) were significantly more UV tolerant than those from the UV-B− (n = 363) plots. UV sensitivity was determined as the minimal inhibitory dose of UV that resulted in an inhibition of growth compared to the growth of a nonirradiated control. The difference in minimal inhibitory doses among bacterial isolates from UV-B+ and UV-B− treatments was mainly partitioned among nonpigmented isolates, with pigmented isolates as a group being characterized as UV tolerant. A large increase in UV tolerance was observed within isolate groups collected late (89 and 96 days after planting) in the season. Identification of 200 late-season isolates indicated that the predominant UV-tolerant members of this group were Bacillus coagulans, Clavibacter michiganensis, and Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens. We selected C. michiganensis as a model UV-tolerant epiphyte to study if cell survival on UV-irradiated peanut leaves was increased relative to UV survival in vitro. The results showed an enhancement in the survival of C. michiganensis G7.1, especially following high UV-C doses (300 and 375 J m−2), that was evident between 24 and 96 h after inoculation. A dramatic increase in the in planta/in vitro survival ratio was observed over the entire 96-h experiment period for C. michiganensis T5.1.
Based on nucleotide sequence homology with the Escherichia coli photolyase gene (phr), the phr sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 was identified from the genome sequence, amplified by PCR, cloned, and shown to complement a known phr mutation following expression in Escherichia coli SY2. Stable, insertional phr mutants containing a tetracycline resistance gene cassette were constructed in P. aeruginosa PAO1 and P. syringae pv. syringae FF5 by homologous recombination and sucrose-mediated counterselection. These mutants showed a decrease in survival compared to the wild type of as much as 19-fold after irradiation at UV-B doses of 1,000 to 1,550 J m−2 followed by a recovery period under photoreactivating conditions. A phr uvrA mutant of P. aeruginosa PAO1 was markedly sensitive to UV-B irradiation exhibiting a decrease in survival of 6 orders of magnitude following a UV-B dose of 250 J m−2. Complementation of the phr mutations in P. aeruginosa PAO1 and P. syringae pv. syringae FF5 using the cloned phr gene from strain PAO1 resulted in a restoration of survival following UV-B irradiation and recovery under photoreactivating conditions. The UV-B survival of the phr mutants could also be complemented by the P. syringae mutagenic DNA repair determinant rulAB. Assays for increases in the frequency of spontaneous rifampin-resistant mutants in UV-B-irradiated strains containing rulAB indicated that significant UV-B mutability (up to a 51-fold increase compared to a nonirradiated control strain) occurred even in the wild-type PAO1 background in which rulAB only enhanced the UV-B survival by 2-fold under photoreactivating conditions. The frequency of occurrence of spontaneous nalidixic acid-resistant mutants in the PAO1 uvrA and uvrA phr backgrounds complemented with rulAB were 3.8 × 10−5 and 2.1 × 10−3, respectively, following a UV-B dose of 1,550 J m−2. The construction and characterization of phr mutants in the present study will facilitate the determination of the roles of light and dark repair systems in organisms exposed to solar radiation in their natural habitats.
The rulAB locus confers tolerance to UV radiation and is borne on plasmids of the pPT23A family in Pseudomonas syringae. We sequenced 14 rulA alleles from P. syringae strains representing seven pathovars and found sequence differences of 1 to 12% within pathovar syringae, and up to 15% differences between pathovars. Since the sequence variation within rulA was similar to that of P. syringae chromosomal alleles, we hypothesized that rulAB has evolved over a long time period in P. syringae. A phylogenetic analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences of rulA resulted in seven clusters. Strains from the same plant host grouped together in three cases; however, strains from different pathovars grouped together in two cases. In particular, the rulA alleles from P. syringae pv. lachrymans and P. syringae pv. pisi were grouped but were clearly distinct from the other sequenced alleles, suggesting the possibility of a recent interpathovar transfer. We constructed chimeric rulAB expression clones and found that the observed sequence differences resulted in significant differences in UV (wavelength) radiation sensitivity. Our results suggest that specific amino acid changes in RulA could alter UV radiation tolerance and the competitiveness of the P. syringae host in the phyllosphere.
The effects of the rulAB operon of Pseudomonas syringae on mutagenic DNA repair and the transcriptional regulation of rulAB following irradiation with UV-B wavelengths were determined. For a rulB::Km insertional mutant constructed in P. syringae pv. syringae B86-17, sensitivity to UV-B irradiation increased and UV mutability decreased by 12- to 14-fold. rulAB-induced UV mutability was also tracked in phyllosphere populations of B86-17 for up to 5 days following plant inoculation. UV mutability to rifampin resistance (Rifr) was detected at all sampling points at levels which were significantly greater than in nonirradiated controls. In P. aeruginosa PAO1, the cloned rulAB determinant on pJJK17 conferred a 30-fold increase in survival and a 200-fold increase in mutability following a UV-B dose of 1,900 J m−2. In comparative studies using defined genetic constructs, we determined that rulAB restored mutability to the Escherichia coli umuDC deletion mutant RW120 at a level between those of its homologs mucAB and umuDC. Analyses using a rulAB::inaZ transcriptional fusion in Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf5 showed that rulAB was rapidly induced after UV-B irradiation, with expression levels peaking at 4 h. At the highest UV-B dose administered, transcriptional activity of the rulAB promoter was elevated as much as 261-fold compared to that of a nonirradiated control. The importance of rulAB for survival of P. syringae in its phyllosphere habitat, coupled with its wide distribution among a broad range of P. syringae genotypes, suggests that this determinant would be appropriate for continued investigations into the ecological ramifications of mutagenic DNA repair.
Many Pseudomonas syringae strains contain native plasmids that are important for host-pathogen interactions, and most of them contain several coexisting plasmids (pPT23A-like plasmids) that cross-hybridize to replication sequences from pPT23A, which also carries a gene cluster coding for the phytotoxin coronatine in P. syringae pv. tomato PT23. In this study, three functional pPT23A-like replicons were cloned from P. syringae pv. glycinea race 6, suggesting that the compatibility of highly related replicons is a common feature of P. syringae strains. Hybridization experiments using three separate incompatibility determinants previously identified from pPT23A and the rulAB (UV radiation tolerance) genes showed that the organization of the replication region among pPT23A-like plasmids from several P. syringae pathovars is poorly conserved. The putative repA gene from four pPT23A-like replicons from P. syringae pv. glycinea race 6 was amplified by using specific primers. The restriction profiles of the resulting PCR products for the race 6 plasmids were more similar to each other than they were to that of pPT23A. These data, together with the existence of other cross-hybridizing DNA regions around the replicon among the race 6 pPT23A-like plasmids, suggest that some of these plasmids may have originated from duplication events. Our results also imply that modifications of the repA sequences and the poor conservation of putative maintenance determinants contribute to the suppression of incompatibility among members of the pPT23A-like family, thus enhancing the genomic plasticity of P. syringae.