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The Plant Pathogen Rhodococcus Fascians Colonizes The Exterior And Interior Of The Aerial Parts Of Plants

Karen Cornelis, Tita Ritsema, Jaap Nijsse, Marcelle Holsters, Koen Goethals, Mondher Jaziri

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Rhodococcus fascians is a plant-pathogenic bacterium that causes malformations on aerial plant parts, whereby leafy galls occur at axillary meristems. The colonization behavior on Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana plants was examined. Independent of the infection methods, R. fascians extensively colonized the plant surface where the bacteria were surrounded by a slime layer. R. fascians caused the collapse of epidermal cells and penetrated intercellularly into the plant tissues. The onset of symptom development preceded the extensive colonization of the interior. The meristematic regions induced by pathogenic strain D188 were surrounded by bacteria. The nonpathogenic strain, D188-5, colonized the exterior of the plant equally well, but the linear plasmid (pFiD188) seemed to be involved in the penetration efficiency and colonization of tobacco tissues.