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Identification Of A Novel Pseudomonas Syringae Psy61 Effector With Virulence And Avirulence Functions By A HrpL-Dependent Promoter-Trap Assay

L. Losada, T. Sussan, K. Pak, S. Zeyad, I. Rozenbaum, S. W. Hutcheson

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The hrp pathogenicity island of Pseudomonas syringae encodes a type III secretion system (TTSS) that translocates effectors into plant cells. Most genes encoding effectors are dispersed in the P. syringae genome. Regardless of location, all are regulated coordinately by the alternative sigma factor HrpL. An HrpL-dependent promoter-trap assay was developed to screen genomic libraries of P. syringae strains for promoters whose activity in Escherichia coli is dependent on an inducible hrpL construct. Twenty-two HrpL-dependent promoter fragments were isolated from P. syringae Psy61 that included promoters for known HrpL-dependent genes. One fragment also was isolated that shared no similarity with known genes but retained a near consensus HrpL-dependent promoter. The sequence of the region revealed a 375-amino acid open reading frame encoding a 40.5-kDa product that was designated HopPsyL. HopPsyL was structurally similar to other secreted effectors and carried a putative chloroplast-targeting signal and two predicted transmembrane domains. HopPsyL′:′ AvrRpt2 fusions were translocated into host cells via the P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 hrp TTSS. A hopPsyL∷kan mutant of Psy61 exhibited strongly reduced virulence in Phaseolus vulgaris cv. Kentucky Wonder, but did not appear to act as a defense response suppressor. The ectopically expressed gene reduced the virulence of Pseudomonas syringae DC3000 transformants in Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0. The gene was shown to be conserved in 6 of 10 P. syringae pv. syringae strains but was not detected in 35 strains of other pathovars. HopPsyL appears to be a novel TTSS-dependent effector that functions as a host-species-specific virulence factor in Psy61.