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Plant J. 2007 Feb;49(4):607-18. Epub 2007 Jan 8.

Early events in the pathogenicity of Pseudomonas syringae on Nicotiana benthamiana.

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The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Conserved microbial molecules known as PAMPs (pathogen-associated molecular patterns) elicit defence responses in plants through extracellular receptor proteins. One important PAMP is the flagellin protein derived from motile bacteria. We show here that the solanaceous species Nicotiana benthamiana perceives the flagellin proteins of both pathogenic and non-host species of Pseudomonas syringae. The response to flagellin required a gene closely related to that encoding the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor that we designated NbFls2. In addition, silencing of NbFls2 led to increased growth of compatible, non-host and non-pathogenic strains of P. syringae. Thus, flagellin perception restricts growth of P. syringae strains on N. benthamiana. Pathogenic bacteria secrete effector proteins into the plant cell to enhance virulence. We tested the ability of several unrelated effectors to suppress PAMP-mediated defences. The effector proteins AvrPto and AvrPtoB, but not AvrRps4, suppressed all responses tested including the hypersensitive response induced by non-host flagellins and the oomycete elicitor INF1. Strikingly, transient expression of avrPto or avrPtoB stimulated the growth of non-pathogenic Agrobacterium tumefaciensin planta, suggesting that multiplication of this species is also restricted by PAMP perception. Unexpectedly, AvrPtoB but not AvrPto required the defence-associated genes Rar1, Sgt1 and Eds1 for suppression. This observation separates the respective mechanisms of the two effectors, and suggests that AvrPtoB may target the defence machinery directly for its suppressive effect.

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