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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Jun;61(6):2151-8.

Altered Epiphytic Colonization of Mannityl Opine-Producing Transgenic Tobacco Plants by a Mannityl Opine-Catabolizing Strain of Pseudomonas syringae.


The plasmid pYDH208, which confers the ability to catabolize the mannityl opines mannopine and agropine, was mobilized into the nonpathogenic Pseudomonas syringae strain Cit7. The growth of the mannityl opine-catabolizing strain Cit7(pYDH208) was compared with that of the near-isogenic non-opine-catabolizing strain Cit7xylE on leaves of wild-type tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Xanthi) and transgenic mannityl opine-producing tobacco plants (N. tabacum cv. Xanthi, line 2-26). The population size of Cit7(pYDH208) was significantly greater on the lower leaves of transgenic plants than on middle or upper leaves of those plants. The population size of Cit7(pYDH208) on lower leaves of transgenic plants was also significantly greater than the population size of Cit7xylE on similar leaves of wild-type plants. High-voltage paper electrophoresis demonstrated higher levels of mannityl opines in washings from lower- and mid-level leaves than in washings from upper-level leaves. The ability of Cit7(pYDH208) to catabolize mannityl opines in the carbon-limited phyllosphere increased the carrying capacity of the lower leaves of transgenic plants for Cit7(pYDH208). In coinoculations, the increase in the ratio of population sizes of Cit7(pYDH208) to Cit7xylE on transgenic plants was apparently due to a subtle difference in the growth rates of the two strains and to the difference in final population sizes. An ability to utilize additional carbon sources on the transgenic plants also enabled Cit7(pYDH208) to achieve a higher degree of coexistence with Cit7xylE on transgenic plants than on wild-type plants. This supports the hypothesis that the level of coexistence between epiphytic bacterial populations can be altered through nutritional resource partitioning.

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