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Microbiology. 2014 Jan;160(Pt 1):179-86. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.071092-0. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Expression of nipP.w of Pectobacterium wasabiae is dependent on functional flgKL flagellar genes.

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Department of Genetics, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, 23 Riia Street, Tartu 51010, Estonia.


While flagellum-driven motility is hypothesized to play a role in the virulence of Pectobacterium species, there is no direct evidence that genes involved in flagellum assembly regulate the synthesis of virulence factors. The purpose of this study was to identify genes that affect the production or secretion of necrosis-inducing protein (Nip) in the strain SCC3193. Transposon mutagenesis of an RpoS strain overexpressing NipP.w was performed, and a mutant associated with decreased necrosis of tobacco leaves was detected. The mutant contained a transposon in the regulatory region upstream of the flagellar genes flgK and flgL. Additional mutants were generated related to the flagellar genes fliC and fliA. The mutation in flgKL, but not those in fliC and fliA, inhibited nipP.w transcription. Moreover, the regulatory effect of the flgKL mutation on nipP.w transcription was partially dependent on the Rcs phosphorelay. Secretion of NipP.w was also dependent on a type II secretion mechanism. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the flgKL mutation is responsible for reduced motility and lower levels of nipP.w expression.

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