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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jul 8;100(14):8577-82. Epub 2003 Jun 19.

A Pseudomonas syringae type III effector suppresses cell wall-based extracellular defense in susceptible Arabidopsis plants.

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Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory and Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Bacterial effector proteins secreted through the type III secretion system (TTSS) play a crucial role in causing plant and human diseases. Although the ability of type III effectors to trigger defense responses in resistant plants is well understood, the disease-promoting functions of type III effectors in susceptible plants are largely enigmatic. Previous microscopic studies suggest that in susceptible plants the TTSS of plant-pathogenic bacteria transports suppressors of a cell wall-based plant defense activated by the TTSS-defective hrp mutant bacteria. However, the identity of such suppressors has remained elusive. We discovered that the Pseudomonas syringae TTSS down-regulated the expression of a set of Arabidopsis genes encoding putatively secreted cell wall and defense proteins in a salicylic acid-independent manner. Transgenic expression of AvrPto repressed a similar set of host genes, compromised defense-related callose deposition in the host cell wall, and permitted substantial multiplication of an hrp mutant. AvrPto is therefore one of the long postulated suppressors of an salicylic acid-independent, cell wall-based defense that is aimed at hrp mutant bacteria.

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