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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Characterization of a Pantoea stewartii TTSS gene required for persistence in its flea beetle vector

item Correa, Valdir
item Majerczak, Doris
item Ammar, El-desouky
item Merighi, Massimo
item Coplin, David
item Pratt, Richard
item Redinbaugh, Margaret - Peg
item Hogenhout, Saskia

Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2008
Publication Date: 6/29/2008
Citation: Correa, V.R., Majerczak, D.R., Ammar, E., Merighi, M., Coplin, D.L., Pratt, R.C., Redinbaugh, M.G., Hogenhout, S.A. 2008. Characterization of a Pantoea stewartii TTSS gene required for persistence in its flea beetle vector. Phytopathology. 98:541.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Stewart's bacterial wilt of maize is caused by Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii (Pnss), a bacterium that is transmitted by the flea beetle, Chaetocnema pulicaria. Few studies have focused on the molecular basis of the interactions of Pnss with its vector. Genome analyses indicated that Pnss carries gene clusters for two type III secretion systems (TTSS). The first (TTSS-1) encodes hrp genes for translocation of effector proteins into plant cells. TTSS-1 effectors are required for plant infection, but no function has been assigned to TTSS-2. The purpose of this study was to determine if TTSS-2 is involved in Pnss colonization and persistence in its vector. Two Pnss wild-type strains (DM283 and DM440) and mini-Tn5gus-insertion mutants of a ysaN homolog in TTSS-2 and a sapD homolog were tested for persistence in flea beetles up to 12 days after feeding on infected maize. ysaN is a structural protein of the TTSS pilus and SapD is an ABC transporter involved with antimicrobial peptide resistance. Immunofluorescence microscopy of dissected insect organs revealed that the wild-type and sapD strains persisted in the beetles for at least 12 days, whereas ysaN mutant strain was significantly lower at 8 and 12 days post acquisition. Bacteria persisted primarily in the lumen of the midgut and hindgut of the beetles. Viable cell counts of Pnss present in beetle extracts were significantly lower for the ysaN mutant at 8 and 10 days post acquisition relative to wild-type and the sapD mutants. The lack of persistence of the ysaN mutant suggests that TTSS-2 is involved in Pnss persistence in its flea beetle vector. The relative expression levels of TTSS-1 and TTSS-2 genes in plants and in insects are currently being assessed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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