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SUMMARY

Burkholderia glumae is a rice pathogenic bacterium that causes bacterial panicle blight. Some strains of this pathogen produce dark brown pigments when grown on casamino-acid peptone glucose (CPG) agar medium. A pigment-positive and highly virulent strain of B. glumae, 411gr-6, was randomly mutagenized with mini-Tn5gus, and the resulting mini-Tn5gus derivatives showing altered pigmentation phenotypes were screened on CPG agar plates to identify the genetic elements governing the pigmentation of B. glumae. In this study, a novel two-component regulatory system (TCRS) composed of the PidS sensor histidine kinase and the PidR response regulator was identified as an essential regulatory factor for pigmentation. Notably, the PidS/PidR TCRS was also required for the elicitation of the hypersensitive response on tobacco leaves, indicating the dependence of the hypersensitive response and pathogenicity (Hrp) type III secretion system of B. glumae on this regulatory factor. In addition, B. glumae mutants defective in the PidS/PidR TCRS showed less production of the phytotoxin, toxoflavin, and less virulence on rice panicles and onion bulbs relative to the parental strain, 411gr-6. The presence of highly homologous PidS and PidR orthologues in other Burkholderia species suggests that PidS/PidR-family TCRSs may exert the same or similar functions in different Burkholderia species, including both plant and animal pathogens.