Transcriptional studies of the hrpM/opgH gene in Pseudomonas syringae during biofilm formation and in response to different environmental challenges


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Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae strain FF5 is a phytopathogen that causes a rapid dieback on ornamental pear trees. In the present study, the transcriptional expression of hrpM/opgH, algD, hrpR and rpoD was evaluated in P. syringae FF5 and FF5.M2 (hrpM/opgH mutant). The temporal expression of these genes was evaluated during biofilm formation, the hypersensitive reaction (HR) on tobacco plants, and when the bacteria were subjected to different environmental stresses. The results indicate that mutations in hrpM negatively impair several traits including biofilm formation, the ability to cause disease in host plants and the HR in non-host plants, and the expression of hrpR, a regulatory gene modulating the latter two traits. Furthermore, FF5.M2 was decreased in swarming motility and unable to respond to different environmental challenges. Interestingly, FF5.M2 showed an exponential increase in the expression of algD, which is the first gene to be transcribed during the biosynthesis of the alginate, a virulence factor in P. syringae. The expression of both hrpM and algD were required for biofilm formation, and hrpM was expressed earlier than algD during biofilm development. These findings indicate that hrpM expression is required for several traits in P. syringae and plays an important role in how this bacterium responds to environmental challenges.