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J Bacteriol. 2010 Jul;192(14):3584-96. doi: 10.1128/JB.00114-10. Epub 2010 May 14.

Sensor kinases RetS and LadS regulate Pseudomonas syringae type VI secretion and virulence factors.

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  • 1Dept. of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, 2132 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2132, USA.


Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae B728a is a resident on leaves of common bean, where it utilizes several well-studied virulence factors, including secreted effectors and toxins, to develop a pathogenic interaction with its host. The B728a genome was recently sequenced, revealing the presence of 1,297 genes with unknown function. This study demonstrates that a 29.9-kb cluster of genes in the B728a genome shares homology to the novel type VI secretion system (T6SS) locus recently described for other gram-negative bacteria. Western blot analyses showed that B728a secretes Hcp, a T6SS protein, in culture and that this secretion is dependent on clpV, a gene that likely encodes an AAA(+) ATPase. In addition, we have identified two B728a sensor kinases that have homology to the P. aeruginosa proteins RetS and LadS. We demonstrate that B728a RetS and LadS reciprocally regulate the T6SS and collectively modulate several virulence-related activities. Quantitative PCR analyses indicated that RetS and LadS regulate genes associated with the type III secretion system and that LadS controls the expression of genes involved in the production of the exopolysaccharides alginate and levan. These analyses also revealed that LadS and the hybrid sensor kinase GacS positively regulate the expression of a putative novel exopolysaccharide called Psl. Plate assays demonstrated that RetS negatively controls mucoidy, while LadS negatively regulates swarming motility. A mutation in retS affected B728a population levels on the surfaces of bean leaves. A model for the LadS and RetS control of B728a virulence activities is proposed.

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