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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2002 May;15(5):472-80.

hrp genes of Erwinia chrysanthemi 3937 are important virulence factors.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside 92521, USA.


We developed improved virulence assays for Erwinia chrysanthemi 3937 on African violet varieties and devised a new method for the construction of precise bacterial gene knockouts. These methods were tested by constructing mutations in genes suspected to be involved with plant interactions. The virulence of the hrpG and hrcC mutant strains (both gene products presumed to be involved in protein secretion) was greatly reduced on leaves of semitolerant African violet varieties. An hrpN mutant strain produced delayed symptoms on African violet leaves and an hrpN delta pel (delta pel = five major pectate lyase genes deleted) double mutant was nonpathogenic. The hrcC and hrpG mutants did not produce a rapid hypersensitive response (HR) in tobacco, unlike the wild-type bacterium, and the hrpN mutant gave a reduced HR. The results, therefore, establish the importance of hrp genes in the virulence of E. chrysanthemi and their ability to elicit HR on nonhosts. The data also suggest that other effector proteins secreted by the Hrp system are required for full virulence and HR elicitation.

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