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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 3;8(6):e65534. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065534. Print 2013.

The type III secreted effector DspE is required early in solanum tuberosum leaf infection by Pectobacterium carotovorum to cause cell death, and requires Wx(3-6)D/E motifs.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.


Pectobacterium species are enterobacterial plant-pathogens that cause soft rot disease in diverse plant species. Unlike hemi-biotrophic plant pathogenic bacteria, the type III secretion system (T3SS) of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (P. carotovorum) appears to secrete only one effector protein, DspE. Previously, we found that the T3SS regulator HrpL and the effector DspE are required for P. carotovorum pathogenesis on leaves. Here, we identified genes up-regulated by HrpL, visualized expression of dspE in leaves, and established that DspE causes host cell death. DspE required its full length and WxxxE-like motifs, which are characteristic of the AvrE-family effectors, for host cell death. We also examined expression in plant leaves and showed that hrpL is required for the expression of dspE and hrpN, and that the loss of a functional T3SS had unexpected effects on expression of other genes during leaf infection. These data support a model where P. carotovorum uses the T3SS early in leaf infection to initiate pathogenesis through elicitation of DspE-mediated host cell death.

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