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Plant Physiol. 1993 Jul;102(3):967-973.

Iron Deficiency Induced by Chrysobactin in Saintpaulia Leaves Inoculated with Erwinia chrysanthemi.

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Laboratoire de Pathologie Vegetale, Institut National Agronomique, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris, France (C.N., D.E.).


In this communication, we examine the fate of iron during soft rot pathogenesis caused by Erwinia chrysanthemi on its host, Saintpaulia ionantha. The spread of soft rot caused by this enterobacterium was previously shown to depend on a functional genetic locus encoding a high-affinity iron assimilation system involving the catechol-type siderophore chrysobactin. Leaf intercellular fluid from healthy plants was analyzed with regard to the iron content and its availability for bacterial growth. It was compared to the fluid from diseased plants for the presence of strong iron ligands, using a new approach based on the iron-binding property of an ion-exchange resin. Further characterization allowed the identification of chrysobactin in diseased tissues, thus providing the first evidence for the external release of a microbial siderophore during pathogenesis. Competition for nutritional iron was also studied through a plant-bacterial cell system: iron incorporated into plant ferritin appeared to be considerably reduced in bacteria-treated suspension soybean cells. The same effect was visualized during treatment of soybean cells with axenic leaf intercellular fluid from E. chrysanthemi-inoculated saintpaulia leaves or with chrysobactin.

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