[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gram-negative plant pathogenic bacteria possess a type III secretion system (T3SS) to inject bacterial proteins, called type III effectors (T3Es), into host cells through a specialized syringe structure. T3Es are virulence factors that can suppress plant immunity but they can also conversely be recognized by the plant and trigger specific resistance mechanisms. The T3SS and injected T3Es play a central role in determining the outcome of a host-pathogen interaction. Still little is known in plant pathogens on the assembly of the T3SS and the regulatory mechanisms involved in the temporal control of its biosynthesis and T3E translocation. However, recent insights point out the role of several proteins as prime candidates in the role of regulators of the type III secretion (T3S) process. In this review we report on the most recent advances on the regulation of the T3S by focusing on protein players involved in secretion/translocation regulations, including type III chaperones (T3Cs), type III secretion substrate specificity switch (T3S4) proteins and other T3S orchestrators. Keywords: bacterial plant pathogens, type III secretion system (T3SS), type III chaperones (T3Cs), type III secretion substrate specificity switch (T3S4), secretion of type III effectors (T3Es), control of secretion/translocation
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although much is known about the signals that trigger transcription of virulence genes in plant pathogens, their prevalence and timing during infection are still unknown. In this work, we address these questions by analysing expression of the main pathogenicity determinants in the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. We set up a quantitative, non-invasive luminescent reporter to monitor in planta transcription from single promoters in the bacterial chromosome. We show that the new reporter provides a real-time measure of promoter output in vivo - either after re-isolation of pathogens from infected plants or directly in situ - and confirm that the promoter controlling exopolysaccharide (EPS) synthesis is active in bacteria growing in the xylem. We also provide evidence that hrpB, the master regulator of type III secretion system (T3SS) genes, is transcribed in symptomatic plants. Quantitative RT-PCR assays demonstrate that hrpB and type III effector transcripts are abundant at late stages of plant infection, suggesting that their function is required throughout disease. Our results challenge the widespread view in R. solanacearum pathogenicity that the T3SS, and thus injection of effector proteins, is only active to manipulate plant defences at the first stages of infection, and that its expression is turned down when bacteria reach high cell densities and EPS synthesis starts.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ralstonia solanacearum is a major phytopathogen that attacks many crops and other plants over a broad geographical range. The extensive genetic diversity of strains responsible for the various bacterial wilt diseases has in recent years led to the concept of an R. solanacearum species complex. Genome sequencing of more than 10 strains representative of the main phylogenetic groups has broadened our knowledge of the evolution and speciation of this pathogen and led to the identification of novel virulence-associated functions. Comparative genomic analyses are now opening the way for refined functional studies. The many molecular determinants involved in pathogenicity and host-range specificity are described, and we also summarize current understanding of their roles in pathogenesis and how their expression is tightly controlled by an intricate virulence regulatory network.
Annual Review of Phytopathology 05/2012; 50:67-89. · 10.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MetE and MetH are two distinct enzymes that catalyze a similar biochemical reaction during the last step of methionine biosynthesis, MetH being a cobalamin-dependent enzyme whereas MetE activity is cobalamin-independent. In this work, we show that the last step of methionine synthesis in the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is under the transcriptional control of the master pathogenicity regulator HrpG. This control is exerted essentially on metE expression through the intermediate regulator MetR. Expression of metE is strongly and specifically induced in the presence of plant cells in a hrpG- and metR-dependent manner. metE and metR mutants are not auxotrophic for methionine and not affected for growth inside the plant but produce significantly reduced disease symptoms on tomato whereas disruption of metH has no impact on pathogenicity. The finding that the pathogen preferentially induces metE expression rather than metH in the presence of plant cells is indicative of a probable metabolic adaptation to physiological host conditions since this induction of metE occurs in an environment in which cobalamin, the required co-factor for MetH, is absent. It also shows that MetE and MetH are not functionally redundant and are deployed during specific stages of the bacteria lifecycle, the expression of metE and metH being controlled by multiple and distinct signals.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36877. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial wilt (brown rot) disease of potato caused by Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the most important bacterial diseases and a major constraint on potato production worldwide. Through a comparative genomic analysis between R. solanacearum'race 3 biovar 2' (R3bv2) strains, we identified a 77 kb region in strain UW551 which is specifically absent in the hypoaggressive strain IPO1609. We proved that IPO1609 indeed carries a 77 kb genomic deletion and provide genetic evidence that occurrence of this deletion is responsible for almost complete loss of pathogenicity of this strain. We carried out a functional analysis of this 77 kb region in strain UW551 using a combination of gene deletion and functional complementation approaches which identified the methionine biosynthesis genes metER as having a major contribution to IPO1609 pathogenesis. Deletion of the metER genes significantly impacts pathogenicity of R3bv2 strains but does not lead to methionine auxotrophy nor reduced ability to multiply in planta. In addition, this study indicated that three type III secretion system effectors or a type VI secretion system present within the 77 kb region have no or very minor contribution to pathogenicity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type III effectors from phytopathogenic bacteria exhibit a high degree of functional redundancy, hampering the evaluation of their precise contribution to pathogenicity. This is illustrated by the GALA type III effectors from Ralstonia solanacearum, which have been shown to be collectively, but not individually, required for disease on Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato. We investigated evolution, redundancy and diversification of this family in order to understand the individual contribution of the GALA effectors to pathogenicity. From sequences available, we reconstructed GALA phylogeny and performed selection studies. We then focused on the GALAs from the reference strain GMI1000 to examine their ability to suppress plant defense responses and contribution to pathogenicity on three different host plants: A. thaliana, tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) and eggplant (Solanum melongena). The GALA family is well conserved within R. solanacearum species. Patterns of selection detected on some GALA family members, together with experimental results, show that GALAs underwent functional diversification. We conclude that functional divergence of the GALA family likely accounts for its remarkable conservation during R. solanacearum evolution and could contribute to R. solanacearum's adaptation on several host plants.
New Phytologist 09/2011; 192(4):976-87. · 6.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant immune responses depend on the ability to couple rapid recognition of the invading microbe to an efficient response. During evolution, plant pathogens have acquired the ability to deliver effector molecules inside host cells in order to manipulate cellular and molecular processes and establish pathogenicity. Following translocation into plant cells, microbial effectors may be addressed to different subcellular compartments. Intriguingly, a significant number of effector proteins from different pathogenic microorganisms, including viruses, oomycetes, fungi, nematodes, and bacteria, is targeted to the nucleus of host cells. In agreement with this observation, increasing evidence highlights the crucial role played by nuclear dynamics, and nucleocytoplasmic protein trafficking during a great variety of analyzed plant-pathogen interactions. Once in the nucleus, effector proteins are able to manipulate host transcription or directly subvert essential host components to promote virulence. Along these lines, it has been suggested that some effectors may affect histone packing and, thereby, chromatin configuration. In addition, microbial effectors may either directly activate transcription or target host transcription factors to alter their regular molecular functions. Alternatively, nuclear translocation of effectors may affect subcellular localization of their cognate resistance proteins in a process that is essential for resistance protein-mediated plant immunity. Here, we review recent progress in our field on the identification of microbial effectors that are targeted to the nucleus of host plant cells. In addition, we discuss different virulence strategies deployed by microbes, which have been uncovered through examination of the mechanisms that guide nuclear localization of effector proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ralstonia solanacearum is regarded as one of the world's most important bacterial plant pathogens because of its aggressiveness, large host range, broad geographical distribution and long persistence in soil and water environments. This root pathogen is an attractive model to investigate the question of host adaptation as it exhibits a remarkably broad host range, being able to infect numerous plant species belonging to different botanical families. Several effector proteins transiting through the type III secretion system have been shown to restrict or extend specifically the host range of the bacterium. Recent investigations on the mechanisms that coordinate changes in gene expression during the passage between saprophytism and life within host tissues have allowed the identification of other molecular determinants implicated in the adaptation of R. solanacearum to its hosts and pathogenesis. Among these determinants are genes involved in chemotaxis, secondary metabolic pathways and the detoxification of various antimicrobial compounds, and genes directing the biosynthesis of phytohormones or adherence factors. The regulation of many of these genes is coordinated by the master pathogenicity regulator HrpG. These hrpG-dependent genes control major steps during the interaction with plant cells, and probably determine the ecological behaviour of the microorganism, being required for the establishment of pathogenesis or mutualism.
New Phytologist 09/2010; 187(4):920-8. · 6.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ralstonia solanacearum, the causal agent of bacterial wilt, is a soil bacterium which can naturally infect a wide range of host plants through the root system. Pathogenicity relies on a type III secretion system which delivers a large set of approximately 75 type III effectors (T3E) into plant cells. On several plants, pathogenicity assays based on quantification of wilting symptoms failed to detect a significant contribution of R. solanacearum T3E in this process, thus revealing the collective effect of T3E in pathogenesis. We developed a mixed infection-based method with R. solanacearum to monitor bacterial fitness in plant leaf tissues as a virulence assay. This accurate and sensitive assay provides evidence that growth defects can be detected for T3E mutants: we identified 12 genes contributing to bacterial fitness in eggplant leaves and 3 of them were also implicated in bacterial fitness on two other hosts, tomato and bean. Contribution to fitness of several T3E appears to be host specific, and we show that some known avirulence determinants such as popP2 or avrA do provide competitive advantages on some susceptible host plants. In addition, this assay revealed that the efe gene, which directs the production of ethylene by bacteria in plant tissues, and hdfB, involved in the biosynthesis of the secondary metabolite 3-hydroxy-oxindole, are also required for optimal growth in plant leaf tissues.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of Ralstonia solanacearum to cause disease in plants depends on its type III secretion system (T3SS). The expression of the T3SS and its effector substrates is coordinately controlled by a regulatory cascade, at the bottom of which is HrpB. Transcription of the hrpB gene is activated by a plant-responsive regulator named HrpG, which is a master regulator of a wide array of pathogenicity functions in R. solanacearum. We have identified in the genome of strain GMI1000 a close paralog of hrpG (83% overall similarity at the protein level) that we have named prhG. Despite this high similarity, the expression pattern of prhG is remarkably different from that of hrpG: prhG expression is activated after growth of bacteria in minimal medium but not in the presence of host cells, while hrpG expression is specifically induced in response to plant cell signals. We provide genetic evidence that prhG is a transcriptional regulator that, like hrpG, controls the expression of hrpB and the hrpB-regulated genes under minimal medium conditions. However, the regulatory functions of prhG and hrpG are distinct: prhG has no influence on hrpB expression when the bacteria are in the presence of plant cells, and transcriptomic profiling analysis of a prhG mutant revealed that the PrhG and HrpG regulons have only one pathogenicity target in common, hrpB. Functional complementation experiments indicated that PrhG and HrpG are individually sufficient to activate hrpB expression in minimal medium. Rather surprisingly, a prhG disruption mutant had little impact on pathogenicity, which may indicate that prhG has a minor role in the activation of T3SS genes when R. solanacearum grows parasitically inside the plant. The cross talk between pathogenicity regulatory proteins and environmental signals described here denotes that an intricate network is at the basis of the bacterial disease program.
Journal of bacteriology 12/2009; 192(4):1011-9. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ralstonia solanacearum is the causal agent of the devastating bacterial wilt disease, which colonizes susceptible Medicago truncatula via the intact root tip. Infection involves four steps: appearance of root tip symptoms, root tip cortical cell invasion, vessel colonization, and foliar wilting. We examined this pathosystem by in vitro inoculation of intact roots of susceptible or resistant M. truncatula with the pathogenic strain GMI1000. The infection process was type III secretion system dependent and required two type III effectors, Gala7 and AvrA, which were shown to be involved at different stages of infection. Both effectors were involved in development of root tip symptoms, and Gala7 was the main determinant for bacterial invasion of cortical cells. Vessel invasion depended on the host genetic background and was never observed in the resistant line. The invasion of the root tip vasculature in the susceptible line caused foliar wilting. The avrA mutant showed reduced aggressiveness in all steps of the infection process, suggesting a global role in R. solanacearum pathogenicity. The roles of these two effectors in subsequent stages were studied using an assay that bypassed the penetration step; with this assay, the avrA mutant showed no effect compared with the GMI1000 strain, indicating that AvrA is important in early stages of infection. However, later disease symptoms were reduced in the gala7 mutant, indicating a key role in later stages of infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The model pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum GMI1000 is the causal agent of the bacterial wilt disease that attacks many solanaceous plants and other hosts but not tobacco (Nicotiana spp.). We found that two type III secretion system effector genes, avrA and popP1, are limiting the host range of strain GMI1000 on at least three tobacco species (N. tabacum, N. benthamiana, and N. glutinosa). Both effectors elicit the hypersensitive response (HR) on these tobacco species, although in different manners; AvrA is the major determinant recognized by N. tabacum and N. benthamiana, while PopP1 appears to be the major HR elicitor on N. glutinosa. Only the double inactivation of the avrA and popP1 genes allowed GMI1000 to wilt tobacco plants, thus showing that GMI1000 intrinsically possesses the functions necessary to wilt tobacco plants. A focused analysis on AvrA revealed that the first 58 N-terminal amino acids are sufficient to direct its injection into plant cells. We identified a hypervariable region in avrA, which contains variable numbers of tandem repeats (VNTR), each composed of 12 base pairs. We show that an 18-amino acid region in which the VNTR insertion occurs is an important domain involved in HR elicitation on N. benthamiana. avrA appears to be the target of various DNA insertions or mobile elements that probably allow R. solanacearum to evade the recognition and defense responses of tobacco.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequence analysis of bacterial genomes has revealed a tremendous potential for protein secretion. This is certainly true for the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum which is estimated to export hundreds of proteins through several specialized protein secretion systems. Central to pathogenicity are the Type II and Type III secretion systems both of which serve to export large repertoires of pathogenicity effectors. The distribution and the conservation of Type III effectors into bacterial populations are starting to be unravelled and provide insights into the evolution of virulence functions. Recent advances on the characterization of the GALA and PopP2 proteins illustrate how R. solanacearum Type III effectors subvert host cellular pathways, either by mimicking action of key host proteins or by inducing their subcellular relocalization.
Current opinion in microbiology 02/2009; 12(1):44-52. · 7.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcriptional activator HrpB of the bacterial wilt causing betaproteobacterium Ralstonia solanacearum represents a key regulator for pathogenicity. In particular, it drives expression of hrp genes encoding a type III secretion system (T3SS) as well as effector molecules for delivery into the host cytosol to promote disease. However, the HrpB regulon extends beyond this T3SS. We describe here an HrpB-activated operon of six genes that is responsible for the synthesis of a fluorescent isatin derivative of 149 Amu that we named HDF for HrpB-dependent factor and that we purified from culture supernatants. The structure of the labile molecule was solved by using NMR and CD spectroscopy to be (3S)-3-hydroxy-indolin-2-one and confirmed by its chemical synthesis and MS spectrometry. HDF was found to be present at 20 nM in wild-type cultures grown on minimal medium, and its synthesis increased 15-fold upon overproduction of HrpB, confirming that HrpB activates HDF synthesis. The addition of tryptophan significantly stimulated HDF biosynthesis and was shown to represent the precursor molecule for HDF synthesis. A search for the biological function of the molecule revealed that HDF induces acyl-homoserine lactone receptor-mediated reporter activity of the well studied LuxR transcriptional regulator of Vibrio fischeri. Thus, our results provide evidence that the specificity of acyl-homoserine lactone (acyl-HSL) receptors is clearly broader than previously considered. The failure to detect induction by HDF of the described endogenous quorum-sensing circuits of the pathogen points to a role in interfering with cell-cell signaling of rivalling bacteria.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2007; 104(40):15870-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The soilborne pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is the causal agent of bacterial wilt and attacks more than 200 plant species, including some legumes and the model legume plant Medicago truncatula. We have demonstrated that M. truncatula accessions Jemalong A17 and F83005.5 are susceptible to R. solanacearum and, by screening 28 R. solanacearum strains on the two M. truncatula lines, differential interactions were identified. R. solanacearum GMI1000 infected Jemalong A17 line, and disease symptoms were dependent upon functional hrp genes. An in vitro root inoculation method was employed to demonstrate that R. solanacearum colonized M. truncatula via the xylem and intercellular spaces. R. solanacearum multiplication was restricted by a factor greater than 1 x 10(5) in the resistant line F83005.5 compared with susceptible Jemalong A17. Genetic analysis of recombinant inbred lines from a cross between Jemalong A17 and F83005.5 revealed the presence of major quantitative trait loci for bacterial wilt resistance located on chromosome 5. The results indicate that the root pathosystem for M. truncatula will provide useful traits for molecular analyses of disease and resistance in this model plant species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, we investigated the gene distribution among strains of the highly polymorphic plant pathogenic beta-proteobacterium Ralstonia solanacearum, paying particular attention to the status of known or candidate pathogenicity genes. Based on the use of comparative genomic hybridization on a pangenomic microarray for the GMI1000 reference strain, we have defined the conditions that allowed comparison of the repertoires of genes among a collection of 18 strains that are representative of the biodiversity of the R. solanacearum species. This identified a list of 2,690 core genes present in all tested strains. As a corollary, a list of 2,338 variable genes within the R. solanacearum species has been defined. The hierarchical clustering based on the distribution of variable genes is fully consistent with the phylotype classification that was previously defined from the nucleotide sequence analysis of four genes. The presence of numerous pathogenicity-related genes in the core genome indicates that R. solanacearum is an ancestral pathogen. The results establish the long coevolution of the two replicons that constitute the bacterial genome. We also demonstrate the clustering of variable genes in genomic islands. Most genomic islands are included in regions with an alternative codon usage, suggesting that they originate from acquisition of foreign genes through lateral gene transfers. Other genomic islands correspond to genes that have the same base composition as core genes, suggesting that they either might be ancestral genes lost by deletion in certain strains or might originate from horizontal gene transfers.
Journal of Bacteriology 02/2007; 189(2):377-87. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The specific and covalent addition of ubiquitin to proteins, known as ubiquitination, is a eukaryotic-specific modification central to many cellular processes, such as cell cycle progression, transcriptional regulation, and hormone signaling. Polyubiquitination is a signal for the 26S proteasome to destroy earmarked proteins, but depending on the polyubiquitin chain topology, it can also result in new protein properties. Both ubiquitin-orchestrated protein degradation and modification have also been shown to be essential for the host's immune response to pathogens. Many animal and plant pathogenic bacteria utilize type III and/or type IV secretion systems to inject effector proteins into host cells, where they subvert host signaling cascades as part of their infection strategy. Recent progress in the determination of effector function has taught us that playing with the host's ubiquitination system seems a general tactic among bacteria. Here, we discuss how bacteria exploit this system to control the timing of their effectors' action by programming them for degradation, to block specific intermediates in mammalian or plant innate immunity, or to target host proteins for degradation by mimicking specific ubiquitin/proteasome system components. In addition to analyzing the effectors that have been described in the literature, we screened publicly available bacterial genomes for mimicry of ubiquitin proteasome system subunits and detected several new putative effectors. Our understanding of the intimate interplay between pathogens and their host's ubiquitin proteasome system is just beginning. This exciting research field will aid in better understanding this interplay, and may also provide new insights into eukaryotic ubiquitination processes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phytopathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum encodes a family of seven type III secretion system (T3SS) effectors that contain both a leucine-rich repeat and an F-box domain. This structure is reminiscent of a class of typical eukaryotic proteins called F-box proteins. The latter, together with Skp1 and Cullin1 subunits, constitute the SCF-type E3 ubiquitin ligase complex and control specific protein ubiquitinylation. In the eukaryotic cell, depending on the nature of the polyubiquitin chain, the ubiquitin-tagged proteins either see their properties modified or are doomed for degradation by the 26S proteasome. This pathway is essential to many developmental processes in plants, ranging from hormone signaling and flower development to stress responses. Here, we show that these previously undescribed T3SS effectors are putative bacterial F-box proteins capable of interacting with a subset of the 19 different Arabidopsis Skp1-like proteins like bona fide Arabidopsis F-box proteins. A R. solanacearum strain in which all of the seven GALA effector genes have been deleted or mutated was no longer pathogenic on Arabidopsis and less virulent on tomato. Furthermore, we found that GALA7 is a host-specificity factor, required for disease on Medicago truncatula plants. Our results indicate that the GALA T3SS effectors are essential to R. solanacearum to control disease. Because the F-box domain is essential to the virulence function of GALA7, we hypothesize that these effectors act by hijacking their host SCF-type E3 ubiquitin ligases to interfere with their host ubiquitin/proteasome pathway to promote disease.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2006; 103(39):14620-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many plant and animal bacterial pathogens, the Type III secretion system (TTSS) that directly translocates effector proteins into the eukaryotic host cells is essential for the development of disease. In all species studied, the transcription of the TTSS and most of its effector substrates is tightly regulated by a succession of consecutively activated regulators. However, the whole genetic programme driven by these regulatory cascades is still unknown, especially in bacterial plant pathogens. Here, we have characterised the programme triggered by HrpG, a host-responsive regulator of the TTSS activation cascade in the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. We show through genome-wide expression analysis that, in addition to the TTSS, HrpG controls the expression of a previously undescribed TTSS-independent pathway that includes a number of other virulence determinants and genes likely involved in adaptation to life in the host. Functional studies revealed that this second pathway co-ordinates the bacterial production of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes, exopolysaccharide, and the phytohormones ethylene and auxin. We provide experimental evidence that these activities contribute to pathogenicity. We also show that the ethylene produced by R. solanacearum is able to modulate the expression of host genes and can therefore interfere with the signalling of plant defence responses. These results provide a new, integrated view of plant bacterial pathogenicity, where a common regulator activates synchronously upon infection the TTSS, other virulence determinants and a number of adaptive functions, which act co-operatively to cause disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 70-mer oligonucleotide-based DNA microarray covering 5,074 of the 5,120 predicted genes from Ralstonia solanacearum has been generated and used to investigate the repertoire of genes that are under the control of the transcription activator HrpB, which governs pathogenicity in this plant pathogenic bacterium. This study identified 143 hrpB up-regulated genes and 50 hrpB down-regulated genes. In addition to extending the repertoire of type III effector proteins with 26 new candidates, this work demonstrates that the hrpB regulon extends beyond type III secretion system-related functions to include a number of genes governing chemotaxy, biosynthesis or catabolism of various low-molecular-weight chemical compounds, and siderophore production and uptake. The presence of several transcripttional regulators and a cluster of genes predicted to encode the synthesis of an acylhomoserine lactone together with the absence of a consensus hrpII box in the promoter of a significant proportion of the hrpB-regulated genes suggest that, for some genes, hrpB regulation might be indirect. Altogether, the data indicate that hrpB acts as a master regulatory gene governing a physiological swing associated with the shift from saprophytic to parasitic life.