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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Aug 3;96(16):9368-73.

The Xanthomonas Hrp type III system secretes proteins from plant and mammalian bacterial pathogens.

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  • 1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut des Sciences Végétales, Avenue de la Terrasse, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.


Studies of essential pathogenicity determinants in Gram-negative bacteria have revealed the conservation of type III protein secretion systems that allow delivery of virulence factors into host cells from plant and animal pathogens. Ten of 21 Hrp proteins of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria have been suggested to be part of a type III machinery. Here, we report the hrp-dependent secretion of two avirulence proteins, AvrBs3 and AvrRxv, by X. campestris pv. vesicatoria strains that constitutively express hrp genes. Secretion occurred without leakage of a cytoplasmic marker in minimal medium containing BSA, at pH 5.4. Secretion was strictly hrp-dependent because a mutant carrying a deletion in hrcV, a conserved hrp gene, did not secrete AvrBs3 and AvrRxv. Moreover, the Hrp system of X. campestris pv. vesicatoria was able to secrete proteins from two other plant pathogens: PopA, a protein secreted via the Hrp system in Ralstonia solanacearum, and AvrB, an avirulence protein from Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea. Interestingly, X. campestris pv. vesicatoria also secreted YopE, a type III-secreted cytotoxin of the mammalian pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis in a hrp-dependent manner. YerA, a YopE-specific chaperone, was required for YopE stability but not for secretion in X. campestris pv. vesicatoria. Our results demonstrate the functional conservation of the type III system of X. campestris for secretion of proteins from both plant and mammalian pathogens and imply recognition of their respective secretion signals.

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