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Mol Plant Pathol. 2018 Apr;19(4):935-947. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12579. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 polymutants deploying coronatine and two type III effectors produce quantifiable chlorotic spots from individual bacterial colonies in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves.

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School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Primary virulence factors of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 include the phytotoxin coronatine (COR) and a repertoire of 29 effector proteins injected into plant cells by the type III secretion system (T3SS). DC3000 derivatives differentially producing COR, the T3SS machinery and subsets of key effectors were constructed and assayed in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana. Bacteria were inoculated by the dipping of whole plants and assayed for population growth and the production of chlorotic spots on leaves. The strains fell into three classes. Class I strains are T3SS+ but functionally effectorless, grow poorly in planta and produce faint chlorotic spots only if COR+ . Class II strains are T3SS- or, if T3SS+ , also produce effectors AvrPtoB and HopM1. Class II strains grow better than class I strains in planta and, if COR+ , produce robust chlorotic spots. Class III strains are T3SS+ and minimally produce AvrPtoB, HopM1 and three other effectors encoded in the P. syringae conserved effector locus. These strains differ from class II strains in growing better in planta, and produce chlorotic spots without COR if the precursor coronafacic acid is produced. Assays for chlorotic spot formation, in conjunction with pressure infiltration of low-level inoculum and confocal microscopy of fluorescent protein-labelled bacteria, revealed that single bacteria in the apoplast are capable of producing colonies and associated leaf spots in a 1 : 1 : 1 manner. However, COR makes no significant contribution to the bacterial colonization of the apoplast, but, instead, enables a gratuitous, semi-quantitative, surface indicator of bacterial growth, which is determined by the strain's effector composition.


bacterial plant colonization; bacterial polymutants; coronafacic acid; coronatine; effectors; type III secretion system; virulence assays


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