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Keywords:

  • Acidovorax citrulli;
  • bacterial fruit blotch;
  • Cucumis sativus;
  • pathogenicity;
  • T3SS ATPase;
  • transposon mutagenesis

An Acidovorax citrulli–cucumber pathosystem was established through which A. citrulli mutants with altered pathogenicity, generated by transposon mutagenesis, were identified on cucumber cotyledons. The A. citrulli group I strain FC440 was shown to grow faster in cucumber leaf tissues than a group II strain and was used for Tn5 transposon mutagenesis. A total of 2100 Tn5 insertional mutants were generated, and analysis of the mutant library showed that the transposon insertions were single, independent and stable. A conserved non-flagellar type III secretion system (NF-T3SS) ATPase gene hrcN was identified and confirmed to be essential for pathogenicity and functionality of NF-T3SS in Acitrulli. Comparative sequence analysis of the HrcN protein and its homologues in other representative bacterial plant pathogens revealed that the NF-T3SS of Acitrulli is close to that of Ralstonia solanacearum and Xanthomonas campestris, but distant from that of Pseudomonas syringae and Erwinia amylovora. The generated Tn5 insertional mutant collection is valuable for identification of genes required for A. citrulli pathogenesis, and the established A. citrulli–cucumber pathosystem will facilitate an improved understanding of A. citrulli biology and pathology.