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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Oct;299(2):193-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01747.x. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Twitching motility and biofilm formation are associated with tonB1 in Xylella fastidiosa.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456, USA.


A mutation in the Xylella fastidiosa tonB1 gene resulted in loss of twitching motility and in significantly less biofilm formation as compared with a wild type. The altered motility and biofilm phenotypes were restored by complementation with a functional copy of the gene. The mutation affected virulence as measured by Pierce's disease symptoms on grapevines. The role of TonB1 in twitching and biofilm formation appears to be independent of the characteristic iron-uptake function of this protein. This is the first report demonstrating a functional role for a tonB homolog in X. fastidiosa.

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