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J Bacteriol. 2013 Jan;195(2):287-96. doi: 10.1128/JB.01352-12. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 CmaL (PSPTO4723), a DUF1330 family member, is needed to produce L-allo-isoleucine, a precursor for the phytotoxin coronatine.

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


Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 produces the phytotoxin coronatine, a major determinant of the leaf chlorosis associated with DC3000 pathogenesis. The DC3000 PSPTO4723 (cmaL) gene is located in a genomic region encoding type III effectors; however, it promotes chlorosis in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana in a manner independent of type III secretion. Coronatine is produced by the ligation of two moieties, coronafacic acid (CFA) and coronamic acid (CMA), which are produced by biosynthetic pathways encoded in separate operons. Cross-feeding experiments, performed in N. benthamiana with cfa, cma, and cmaL mutants, implicate CmaL in CMA production. Furthermore, analysis of bacterial supernatants under coronatine-inducing conditions revealed that mutants lacking either the cma operon or cmaL accumulate CFA rather than coronatine, supporting a role for CmaL in the regulation or biosynthesis of CMA. CmaL does not appear to regulate CMA production, since the expression of proteins with known roles in CMA production is unaltered in cmaL mutants. Rather, CmaL is needed for the first step in CMA synthesis, as evidenced by the fact that wild-type levels of coronatine production are restored to a ΔcmaL mutant when it is supplemented with 50 μg/ml l-allo-isoleucine, the starting unit for CMA production. cmaL is found in all other sequenced P. syringae strains with coronatine biosynthesis genes. This characterization of CmaL identifies a critical missing factor in coronatine production and provides a foundation for further investigation of a member of the widespread DUF1330 protein family.

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