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Summary

The Pseudomonas aeruginosa antimetabolite L-2-amino-4-methoxy-trans-3-butenoic acid (AMB) shares biological activities with 4-formylaminooxyvinylglycine, a related molecule produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens WH6. We found that culture filtrates of a P. aeruginosa strain overproducing AMB weakly interfered with seed germination of the grassy weed Poa annua and strongly inhibited growth of Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of the devastating orchard crop disease known as fire blight. AMB was active against a 4-formylaminooxyvinylglycine-resistant isolate of E. amylovora, suggesting that the molecular targets of the two oxyvinylglycines in Erwinia do not, or not entirely, overlap. The AMB biosynthesis and transport genes were shown to be organized in two separate transcriptional units, ambA and ambBCDE, which were successfully expressed from IPTG-inducible tac promoters in the heterologous host P. fluorescens CHA0. Engineered AMB production enabled this model biocontrol strain to become inhibitory against E. amylovora and to weakly interfere with the germination of several graminaceous seeds. We conclude that AMB production requires no additional genes besides ambABCDE and we speculate that their expression in marketed fire blight biocontrol strains could potentially contribute to disease control.