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Mol Microbiol. 1998 Jun;28(5):917-29.

A newly identified regulator is required for virulence and toxin production in Pseudomonas syringae.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


The genes lemA (which we here redesignate gacS) and gacA encode members of a widely conserved two-component regulatory system. In Pseudomonas syringae strain B728a, gacS and gacA are required for lesion formation on bean, as well as for the production of protease and the toxin syringomycin. A gene, designated salA, was discovered that restored syringomycin production to a gacS mutant when present on a multiple-copy plasmid. Disruption of chromosomal salA resulted in loss of syringomycin production and lesion formation in laboratory assays. Sequence analysis of salA suggests that it encodes a protein with a DNA-binding motif but without other significant similarity to proteins in current databases. Chromosomal reporter fusions revealed that gacS and gacA positively regulate salA, that salA upregulates its own expression and that salA positively regulates the expression of a syringomycin biosynthetic gene, syrB. Loss of syringomycin production does not account for the salA mutant's attenuated pathogenicity, as a syrB mutant was found to retain full virulence. The salA gene did not similarly suppress the protease deficient phenotype of gacS mutants, nor were salA mutants affected for protease production. A gacS/gacA-dependent homoserine lactone activity as detected by bioassay was also unaffected by the disruption of salA. Thus, salA appears to encode a novel regulator that activates the expression of at least two separate genetic subsets of the gacS/gacA regulon, one pathway leading to syringomycin production and the other resulting in plant disease.

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