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Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 1999 Jun;63(2):266-92.

Pseudomonas syringae phytotoxins: mode of action, regulation, and biosynthesis by peptide and polyketide synthetases.

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Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-3032, USA.


Coronatine, syringomycin, syringopeptin, tabtoxin, and phaseolotoxin are the most intensively studied phytotoxins of Pseudomonas syringae, and each contributes significantly to bacterial virulence in plants. Coronatine functions partly as a mimic of methyl jasmonate, a hormone synthesized by plants undergoing biological stress. Syringomycin and syringopeptin form pores in plasma membranes, a process that leads to electrolyte leakage. Tabtoxin and phaseolotoxin are strongly antimicrobial and function by inhibiting glutamine synthetase and ornithine carbamoyltransferase, respectively. Genetic analysis has revealed the mechanisms responsible for toxin biosynthesis. Coronatine biosynthesis requires the cooperation of polyketide and peptide synthetases for the assembly of the coronafacic and coronamic acid moieties, respectively. Tabtoxin is derived from the lysine biosynthetic pathway, whereas syringomycin, syringopeptin, and phaseolotoxin biosynthesis requires peptide synthetases. Activation of phytotoxin synthesis is controlled by diverse environmental factors including plant signal molecules and temperature. Genes involved in the regulation of phytotoxin synthesis have been located within the coronatine and syringomycin gene clusters; however, additional regulatory genes are required for the synthesis of these and other phytotoxins. Global regulatory genes such as gacS modulate phytotoxin production in certain pathovars, indicating the complexity of the regulatory circuits controlling phytotoxin synthesis. The coronatine and syringomycin gene clusters have been intensively characterized and show potential for constructing modified polyketides and peptides. Genetic reprogramming of peptide and polyketide synthetases has been successful, and portions of the coronatine and syringomycin gene clusters could be valuable resources in developing new antimicrobial agents.

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