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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2011 Sep;77(3):546-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01136.x. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

A plant growth-promoting pseudomonad is closely related to the Pseudomonas syringae complex of plant pathogens.

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Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada.


Pseudomonas putida GR12-2 is well known as a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium; however, phylogenetic analysis using the 16S rRNA gene and four housekeeping genes indicated that this strain forms a monophyletic group with the Pseudomonas syringae complex, which is composed of several species of plant pathogens. On the basis of these sequence analyses, we suggest that P. putida GR12-2 be redesignated as P. syringae GR12-2. To compare the ecological roles of P. syringae GR12-2 with its close relatives P. syringae pathovar (pv.) tomato DC3000 and P. syringae pv. syringae B728a, we investigated their ability to cause disease and promote plant growth. When introduced on tobacco or tomato leaves, P. syringae GR12-2 was unable to elicit a hypersensitive response or cause disease, which are characteristic responses of P. syringae DC3000 and B728a, nor were type III secretion system genes required for virulence detected in P. syringae GR12-2 by PCR or DNA hybridization. In contrast to P. syringae GR12-2, neither of the phytopathogens was able to promote root growth when inoculated onto canola seeds. Although commensals and nonpathogens have been reported among the strains of the P. syringae complex, P. syringae GR12-2 is a mutualist and a phytostimulator.

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