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Microbiology. 2008 Feb;154(Pt 2):413-21. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.2007/012864-0.

The alternative sigma factor AlgT, but not alginate synthesis, promotes in planta multiplication of Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea.

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Jacobs University Bremen, School of Engineering and Sciences, Campus Ring 1, Bremen, Germany.


The phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea produces the exopolysaccharide (EPS) alginate, which is thought to function in epiphytic fitness and virulence. A key regulator for alginate biosynthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and P. syringae is the alternative sigma factor AlgT (sigma(22)). In this study, the contribution of alginate synthesis and AlgT to in planta epiphytic fitness and virulence of P. syringae was examined. Alginate biosynthesis mutants were generated for the P. syringae pv. glycinea strains PG4180 and PG4180.muc, representing a comprehensive set of alginate- and AlgT-positive or -negative derivatives. Analysis of in vitro and in planta phenotypes revealed that AlgT strongly promoted in planta growth, survival and symptom development, but decreased the ability to grow in vitro. In contrast, alginate biosynthesis had only marginal impact. Quantitative in vitro and in planta gene expression analyses for alginate biosynthesis and algT were carried out at two temperatures in AlgT-negative and -positive backgrounds. algT as well as algD gene expression was AlgT-dependent, plant-inducible and temperature-dependent, with higher expression at 18 compared to 28 degrees C; however, no temperature dependence was observed in vitro. Our data suggest that AlgT may act as a global regulator for virulence and in planta fitness traits of P. syringae independent of its role in EPS biosynthesis.

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