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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Nov;54(4):921-34.

Quorum sensing and the LysR-type transcriptional activator ToxR regulate toxoflavin biosynthesis and transport in Burkholderia glumae.

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School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Burkholderia glumae BGR1 produces a broad-host range phytotoxin, called toxoflavin, which is a key pathogenicity factor in rice grain rot and wilt in many field crops. Our molecular and genetic analyses of toxoflavin-deficient mutants demonstrated that gene clusters for toxoflavin production consist of four transcriptional units. The toxoflavin biosynthesis genes were composed of five genes, toxA to toxE, as Suzuki et al. (2004) reported previously. Genes toxF to toxI, which are responsible for toxoflavin transport, were polycistronic and similar to the genes for resistance-nodulation-division (RND) efflux systems. Using Tn3-gusA reporter fusions, we found that ToxR, a LysR-type regulator, regulates both the toxABCDE and toxFGHI operons in the presence of toxoflavin as a coinducer. In addition, the expression of both operons required a transcriptional activator, ToxJ, whose expression is regulated by quorum sensing. TofI, a LuxI homologue, was responsible for the biosynthesis of both N-hexanoyl homoserine lactone and N-octanoyl homoserine lactone (C8-HSL). C8-HSL and its cognate receptor TofR, a LuxR homologue, activated toxJ expression. This is the first report that quorum sensing is involved in pathogenicity by the regulation of phytotoxin biosynthesis and its transport in plant pathogenic bacteria.

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