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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Oct;54(2):353-65.

HopPtoN is a Pseudomonas syringae Hrp (type III secretion system) cysteine protease effector that suppresses pathogen-induced necrosis associated with both compatible and incompatible plant interactions.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 causes bacterial speck disease in tomato, and it elicits the hypersensitive response (HR) in non-host plants such as Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana benthamiana. The compatible and incompatible interactions of DC3000 with tomato and Nicotiana spp., respectively, result in plant cell death, but the HR cell death occurs more rapidly and is associated with effective plant defense. Both interactions require the Hrp (HR and pathogenicity) type III secretion system (TTSS), which injects Hop (Hrp outer protein) effectors into plant cells. Here, we demonstrate that HopPtoN is translocated into tomato cells via the Hrp TTSS. A hopPtoN mutant produced eightfold more necrotic 'speck' lesions on tomato leaves than did DC3000, but the mutant and the wild-type strain grew to the same level in infected leaves. In non-host N. tabacum leaves, the hopPtoN mutant produced more cell death, whereas a DC3000 strain overexpressing HopPtoN produced less cell death and associated electrolyte leakage in comparison with wild-type DC3000. Transient expression of HopPtoN via infection with a PVX viral vector enabled tomato and N. benthamiana plants to tolerate, with reduced disease lesions, challenge infections with DC3000 and P. syringae pv. tabaci 11528, respectively. HopPtoN showed cysteine protease activity in vitro, and hopPtoN mutants altered in the predicted cysteine protease catalytic triad (C172S, H283A and D299A) lost HR suppression activity. These observations reveal that HopPtoN is a TTSS effector that can suppress plant cell death events in both compatible and incompatible interactions.

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