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1.  Global Small RNA Chaperone Hfq and Regulatory Small RNAs Are Important Virulence Regulators in Erwinia amylovora 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(8):1706-1717.
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.
PMCID: PMC3624556  PMID: 23378513
2.  Control of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) on apple trees with trunk-injected plant resistance inducers and antibiotics and assessment of induction of pathogenesis-related protein genes 
Management of fire blight is complicated by limitations on use of antibiotics in agriculture, antibiotic resistance development, and limited efficacy of alternative control agents. Even though successful in control, preventive antibiotic sprays also affect non-target bacteria, aiding the selection for resistance which could ultimately be transferred to the pathogen Erwinia amylovora. Trunk injection is a target-precise pesticide delivery method that utilizes tree xylem to distribute injected compounds. Trunk injection could decrease antibiotic usage in the open environment and increase the effectiveness of compounds in fire blight control. In field experiments, after 1–2 apple tree injections of either streptomycin, potassium phosphites (PH), or acibenzolar-S-methyl (ASM), significant reduction of blossom and shoot blight symptoms was observed compared to water injected control trees. Overall disease suppression with streptomycin was lower than typically observed following spray applications to flowers. Trunk injection of oxytetracycline resulted in excellent control of shoot blight severity, suggesting that injection is a superior delivery method for this antibiotic. Injection of both ASM and PH resulted in the significant induction of PR-1, PR-2, and PR-8 protein genes in apple leaves indicating induction of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) under field conditions. The time separating SAR induction and fire blight symptom suppression indicated that various defensive compounds within the SAR response were synthesized and accumulated in the canopy. ASM and PH suppressed fire blight even after cessation of induced gene expression. With the development of injectable formulations and optimization of doses and injection schedules, the injection of protective compounds could serve as an effective option for fire blight control.
PMCID: PMC4323746  PMID: 25717330
trunk injection; fire blight; apple disease control; antibiotics; SAR induction; PR genes; acibenzolar-S-methyl; potassium phosphites
3.  Genome-wide identification of Hfq-regulated small RNAs in the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora discovered small RNAs with virulence regulatory function 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):414.
Erwinia amylovora is a phytopathogenic bacterium and causal agent of fire blight disease in apples and pears. Although many virulence factors have been characterized, the coordination of expression of these virulence factors in E. amylovora is still not clear. Regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) are important post-transcriptional regulatory components in bacteria. A large number of sRNAs require the RNA chaperone Hfq for both stability and functional activation. In E. amylovora, Hfq was identified as a major regulator of virulence and various virulence traits. However, information is still lacking about Hfq-dependent sRNAs on a genome scale, including the virulence regulatory functions of these sRNAs in E. amylovora.
Using both an RNA-seq analysis and a Rho-independent terminator search, 40 candidate Hfq-dependent sRNAs were identified in E. amylovora. The expression and sizes of 12 sRNAs and the sequence boundaries of seven sRNAs were confirmed by Northern blot and 5’ RACE assay respectively. Sequence conservation analysis identified sRNAs conserved only in the Erwinia genus as well as E. amylovora species-specific sRNAs. In addition, a dynamic re-patterning of expression of Hfq-dependent sRNAs was observed at 6 and 12 hours after induction in Hrp-inducing minimal medium. Furthermore, sRNAs that control virulence traits were characterized, among which ArcZ positively controls the type III secretion system (T3SS), amylovoran exopolysaccahride production, biofilm formation, and motility, and negatively modulates attachment while RmaA (Hrs6) and OmrAB both negatively regulate amylovoran production and positively regulate motility.
This study has significantly enhanced our understanding of the Hfq-dependent sRNAs in E. amylovora at the genome level. The identification of multiple virulence-regulating sRNAs also suggests that post-transcriptional regulation by sRNAs may play a role in the deployment of virulence factors needed during varying stages of pathogenesis during host invasion by E. amylovora.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-414) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4070566  PMID: 24885615
RNA-seq; sRNA; Type III secretion system; Biofilm; Amylovoran; Motility; ArcZ
5.  Cyclic Di-GMP Modulates the Disease Progression of Erwinia amylovora 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(10):2155-2165.
The second messenger cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) is a nearly ubiquitous intracellular signal molecule known to regulate various cellular processes, including biofilm formation, motility, and virulence. The intracellular concentration of c-di-GMP is inversely governed by diguanylate cyclase (DGC) enzymes and phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes, which synthesize and degrade c-di-GMP, respectively. The role of c-di-GMP in the plant pathogen and causal agent of fire blight disease Erwinia amylovora has not been studied previously. Here we demonstrate that three of the five predicted DGC genes in E. amylovora (edc genes, for Erwinia diguanylate cyclase), edcA, edcC, and edcE, are active diguanylate cyclases. We show that c-di-GMP positively regulates the secretion of the main exopolysaccharide in E. amylovora, amylovoran, leading to increased biofilm formation, and negatively regulates flagellar swimming motility. Although amylovoran secretion and biofilm formation are important for the colonization of plant xylem tissues and the development of systemic infections, deletion of the two biofilm-promoting DGCs increased tissue necrosis in an immature-pear infection assay and an apple shoot infection model, suggesting that c-di-GMP negatively regulates virulence. In addition, c-di-GMP inhibited the expression of hrpA, a gene encoding the major structural component of the type III secretion pilus. Our results are the first to describe a role for c-di-GMP in E. amylovora and suggest that downregulation of motility and type III secretion by c-di-GMP during infection plays a key role in the coordination of pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3650540  PMID: 23475975
6.  Recruitment and Rearrangement of Three Different Genetic Determinants into a Conjugative Plasmid Increase Copper Resistance in Pseudomonas syringae 
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.
PMCID: PMC3568574  PMID: 23183969
7.  Erwinia amylovora CRISPR Elements Provide New Tools for Evaluating Strain Diversity and for Microbial Source Tracking 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41706.
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.
PMCID: PMC3409226  PMID: 22860008
8.  Cell Surface Attachment Structures Contribute to Biofilm Formation and Xylem Colonization by Erwinia amylovora▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(19):7031-7039.
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.
PMCID: PMC3187075  PMID: 21821744
9.  Sequence and Role in Virulence of the Three Plasmid Complement of the Model Tumor-Inducing Bacterium Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi NCPPB 3335 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25705.
Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi NCPPB 3335 is a model for the study of the molecular basis of disease production and tumor formation in woody hosts, and its draft genome sequence has been recently obtained. Here we closed the sequence of the plasmid complement of this strain, composed of three circular molecules of 78,357 nt (pPsv48A), 45,220 nt (pPsv48B), and 42,103 nt (pPsv48C), all belonging to the pPT23A-like family of plasmids widely distributed in the P. syringae complex. A total of 152 coding sequences were predicted in the plasmid complement, of which 38 are hypothetical proteins and seven correspond to putative virulence genes. Plasmid pPsv48A contains an incomplete Type IVB secretion system, the type III secretion system (T3SS) effector gene hopAF1, gene ptz, involved in cytokinin biosynthesis, and three copies of a gene highly conserved in plant-associated proteobacteria, which is preceded by a hrp box motif. A complete Type IVA secretion system, a well conserved origin of transfer (oriT), and a homolog of the T3SS effector gene hopAO1 are present in pPsv48B, while pPsv48C contains a gene with significant homology to isopentenyl-diphosphate delta-isomerase, type 1. Several potential mobile elements were found on the three plasmids, including three types of MITE, a derivative of IS801, and a new transposon effector, ISPsy30. Although the replication regions of these three plasmids are phylogenetically closely related, their structure is diverse, suggesting that the plasmid architecture results from an active exchange of sequences. Artificial inoculations of olive plants with mutants cured of plasmids pPsv48A and pPsv48B showed that pPsv48A is necessary for full virulence and for the development of mature xylem vessels within the knots; we were unable to obtain mutants cured of pPsv48C, which contains five putative toxin-antitoxin genes.
PMCID: PMC3191145  PMID: 22022435
10.  The Type 2 Secretion Pseudopilin, gspJ, Is Required for Multihost Pathogenicity of Burkholderia cenocepacia AU1054▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(10):4110-4121.
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.
PMCID: PMC2950340  PMID: 20660607
11.  Growth Parameter Components of Adaptive Specificity during Experimental Evolution of the UVR-Inducible Mutator Pseudomonas cichorii 302959 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e15975.
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.
Methodology/Principal Findings
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.
PMCID: PMC3021522  PMID: 21264242
12.  Genetic Diversity and Multihost Pathogenicity of Clinical and Environmental Strains of Burkholderia cenocepacia ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(16):5250-5260.
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.
PMCID: PMC2725458  PMID: 19542323
13.  Systems level analysis of two-component signal transduction systems in Erwinia amylovora: Role in virulence, regulation of amylovoran biosynthesis and swarming motility 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:245.
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.
PMCID: PMC2698875  PMID: 19470164
14.  Identification and Onion Pathogenicity of Burkholderia cepacia Complex Isolates from the Onion Rhizosphere and Onion Field Soil▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(10):3121-3129.
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.
PMCID: PMC2394932  PMID: 18344334
15.  Global Genomic Analysis of Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi Plasmids▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;190(2):625-635.
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.
PMCID: PMC2223701  PMID: 17993520
16.  Phylogenetic Analysis of the pPT23A Plasmid Family of Pseudomonas syringae▿  
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.
PMCID: PMC1828660  PMID: 17114318
17.  Genetic Differences between Blight-Causing Erwinia Species with Differing Host Specificities, Identified by Suppression Subtractive Hybridization▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2006;72(11):7359-7364.
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.
PMCID: PMC1636173  PMID: 16963554
18.  Overexpression of the 14α-Demethylase Target Gene (CYP51) Mediates Fungicide Resistance in Blumeriella jaapii 
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.
PMCID: PMC1449055  PMID: 16597960
19.  Transcriptome Analysis Applied to Survival of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 Exposed to Ionizing Radiation 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(3):1199-1204.
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.
PMCID: PMC1347324  PMID: 16428429
20.  Identification of Erwinia amylovora Genes Induced during Infection of Immature Pear Tissue 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(23):8088-8103.
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.
PMCID: PMC1291285  PMID: 16291682
21.  Comparative Analysis of Differentially Expressed Genes in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 following Exposure to UVC, UVB, and UVA Radiation†  
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(10):3556-3564.
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.
PMCID: PMC1111996  PMID: 15866945
22.  Nucleotide Sequences, Genetic Organization, and Distribution of pEU30 and pEL60 from Erwinia amylovora 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2004;70(12):7539-7544.
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.
PMCID: PMC535195  PMID: 15574957
23.  Comparative Genomic Analysis of the pPT23A Plasmid Family of Pseudomonas syringae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(6):2113-2126.
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.
PMCID: PMC1064049  PMID: 15743960
24.  Survival of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 after UV Radiation Exposure 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2004;70(11):6435-6443.
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.
PMCID: PMC525172  PMID: 15528503
25.  Long-Term Effect of Mutagenic DNA Repair on Accumulation of Mutations in Pseudomonas syringae B86-17 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(22):7807-7810.
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.
PMCID: PMC524919  PMID: 15516596

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