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Microb Biotechnol. 2008 Jan;1(1):17-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2007.00002.x.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 virulence factors and poplar tree response in the rhizosphere.

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Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3122, USA.


Whole-transcriptome analysis was used here for the first time in the rhizosphere to discern the genes involved in the pathogenic response of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 as well as to discern the response of the poplar tree. Differential gene expression shows that 185 genes of the bacterium and 753 genes of the poplar tree were induced in the rhizosphere. Using the P. aeruginosa transcriptome analysis, isogenic knockout mutants, and two novel plant assays (poplar and barley), seven novel PAO1 virulence genes were identified (PA1385, PA2146, PA2462, PA2463, PA2663, PA4150 and PA4295). The uncharacterized putative haemolysin repressor, PA2463, upon inactivation, resulted in greater poplar virulence and elevated haemolysis while this mutant remained competitive in the rhizosphere. In addition, disruption of the haemolysin gene itself (PA2462) reduced the haemolytic activity of P. aeruginosa, caused less cytotoxicity and reduced barley virulence, as expected. Inactivating PA1385, a putative glycosyl transferase, reduced both poplar and barley virulence. Furthermore, disrupting PA2663, a putative membrane protein, reduced biofilm formation by 20-fold. Inactivation of PA3476 (rhlI) increased virulence with barley as well as haemolytic activity and cytotoxicity, so quorum sensing is important in plant pathogenesis. Hence, this strategy is capable of elucidating virulence genes for an important pathogen.

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