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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2015 Apr;28(4):420-31. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-07-14-0219-R.

Pantoea ananatis Utilizes a Type VI Secretion System for Pathogenesis and Bacterial Competition.

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1 Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and.


Type VI secretion systems (T6SSs) are a class of macromolecular machines that are recognized as an important virulence mechanism in several gram-negative bacteria. The genome of Pantoea ananatis LMG 2665(T), a pathogen of pineapple fruit and onion plants, carries two gene clusters whose predicted products have homology with T6SS-associated gene products from other bacteria. Nothing is known regarding the role of these T6SS-1 and T6SS-3 gene clusters in the biology of P. ananatis. Here, we present evidence that T6SS-1 plays an important role in the pathogenicity of P. ananatis LMG 2665(T) in onion plants, while a strain lacking T6SS-3 remains as pathogenic as the wild-type strain. We also investigated the role of the T6SS-1 system in bacterial competition, the results of which indicated that several bacteria compete less efficiently against wild-type LMG 2665(T) than a strain lacking T6SS-1. Additionally, we demonstrated that these phenotypes of strain LMG 2665(T) were reliant on the core T6SS products TssA and TssD (Hcp), thus indicating that the T6SS-1 gene cluster encodes a functioning T6SS. Collectively, our data provide the first evidence demonstrating that the T6SS-1 system is a virulence determinant of P. ananatis LMG 2665(T) and plays a role in bacterial competition.

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