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J Appl Microbiol. 2006 May;100(5):1073-83.

Role of nucleotide excision repair and photoreactivation in the solar UVB radiation survival of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae B728a.

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Center for Microbial Ecology and Department of Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.



To assess the role of DNA repair and photoreactivation in the solar radiation survival of the plant pathogen and leaf surface epiphyte Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae (Pss).


Mutants of Pss B728a, with insertional mutations within the nucleotide excision repair gene uvrA, photolyase gene phr, or uvrA phr double mutants, were constructed to examine the importance of individual repair mechanisms in solar UV radiation (UVR) survival. The survival of either the uvrA mutant or the phr mutant was reduced by approx. 10(2)-fold following exposure to a dose of 4.5 kJ m(-2) solar UVB (290-320 nm wavelengths) while the uvrA phr double mutant was reduced >10(6)-fold by the same dose. We constructed a transcriptional fusion between the Pss recA promoter and gfp to examine the induction of the SOS response in wild-type and mutant strains. Initiation of the recA mediated SOS response was more rapid and peaked at higher levels in mutant strains suggesting both increased DNA damage in mutant strains and also that photoreactivation and nucleotide excision repair remove DNA damage as it is incurred which is reflected in a delay of recA expression. Visualization of expression of B728a cells containing the recA::gfp reporter on UVB-irradiated bean leaves highlighted the movement of cells to intercellular spaces over time and that SOS induction was detectable when leaves were irradiated 48 h following leaf inoculation.


This study indicated that solar UVB is detrimental to Pss B728a, DNA repair mechanisms play an important role in strain survival and expression of the SOS regulon on leaf surfaces contributes to survival of UVR-exposed cells during plant colonization.


This work links previous laboratory-based UVR analyses with solar UVB dose-response analyses and highlights the role of photoreactivation in delaying induction of the SOS response following solar irradiation. Knowledge of population dynamics following direct solar irradiation will enhance our understanding of the biology of Pss in the phyllosphere.

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