Inventory and functional analysis of the large Hrp regulon in Ralstonia solanacearum: identification of novel effector proteins translocated to plant host cells through the type III secretion system

Authors


Summary

The ability of Ralstonia solanacearum strain GMI1000 to cause disease on a wide range of host plants (including most Solanaceae and Arabidopsis thaliana) depends on genes activated by the regulatory gene hrpB. HrpB controls the expression of the type III secretion system (TTSS) and pathogenicity effectors transiting through this pathway. In order to establish the complete repertoire of TTSS-dependent effectors belonging to the Hrp regulon and to start their functional analysis, we developed a rapid method for insertional mutagenesis, which was used to monitor the expression of 71 candidate genes and disrupt 56 of them. This analysis yielded a total of 48 novel hrpB-regulated genes. Using the Bordetella pertussis calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase reporter fusion system, we provide direct biochemical evidence that five R. solanacearum effector proteins are translocated into plant host cells through the TTSS. Among these novel TTSS effectors, RipA and RipG both belong to multigenic families, RipG defining a novel class of leucine-rich-repeats harbouring proteins. The members of these multigenic families are differentially regulated, being composed of genes expressed in either an hrpB-dependent or an hrpB-independent manner. Pathogenicity assays of the 56 mutant strains on two host plants indicate that, with two exceptions, mutations in individual effectors have no effect on virulence, a probable consequence of genetic and functional redundancy. This large repertoire of HrpB-regulated genes, which comprises > 20 probable TTSS effector genes with no counterparts in other bacterial species, represents an important step towards a full-genome understanding of R. solanacearum virulence.

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