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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):2975-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1013031108. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Genetic disassembly and combinatorial reassembly identify a minimal functional repertoire of type III effectors in Pseudomonas syringae.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The virulence of Pseudomonas syringae and many other proteobacterial pathogens is dependent on complex repertoires of effector proteins injected into host cells by type III secretion systems. The 28 well-expressed effector genes in the repertoire of the model pathogen P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 were deleted to produce polymutant DC3000D28E. Growth of DC3000D28E in Nicotiana benthamiana was symptomless and 4 logs lower than that of DC3000ΔhopQ1-1, which causes disease in this model plant. DC3000D28E seemed functionally effectorless but otherwise WT in diagnostic phenotypes relevant to plant interactions (for example, ability to inject the AvrPto-Cya reporter into N. benthamiana). Various effector genes were integrated by homologous recombination into native loci or by a programmable or random in vivo assembly shuttle (PRIVAS) system into the exchangeable effector locus in the Hrp pathogenicity island of DC3000D28E. The latter method exploited dual adapters and recombination in yeast for efficient assembly of PCR products into programmed or random combinations of multiple effector genes. Native and PRIVAS-mediated integrations were combined to identify a minimal functional repertoire of eight effector genes that restored much of the virulence of DC3000ΔhopQ1-1 in N. benthamiana, revealing a hierarchy in effector function: AvrPtoB acts with priority in suppressing immunity, enabling other effectors to promote further growth (HopM1 and HopE1), chlorosis (HopG1), lesion formation (HopAM1-1), and near full growth and symptom production (AvrE, HopAA1-1, and/or HopN1 functioning synergistically with the previous effectors). DC3000D28E, the PRIVAS method, and minimal functional repertoires provide new resources for probing the plant immune system.

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