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Cyt toxin expression reveals an inverse regulation of insect and plant virulence factors of Dickeya dadantii.

Abstract : Summary The plant pathogenic bacteria Dickeya dadantii is also a pathogen of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. The genome of the bacteria contains four cyt genes, encoding homologues of Bacillus thuringiensis Cyt toxins, which are involved in its pathogenicity to insects. We show here that these genes are transcribed as an operon, and we determined the conditions necessary for their expression. Their expression is induced at high temperature and at an osmolarity equivalent to that found in the plant phloem sap. The regulators of cyt genes have also been identified: their expression is repressed by H-NS and VfmE and activated by PecS. These genes are already known to regulate plant virulence factors, but in an opposite way. When tested in a virulence assay by ingestion, the pecS mutant was almost non-pathogenic while hns and vfmE mutants behaved in the same way as the wild-type strain. Mutants of other regulators of plant virulence, GacA, OmpR and PhoP, that do not control Cyt toxin production, also showed reduced pathogenicity. In an assay by injection of bacteria, the gacA strain was less pathogenic but, surprisingly, the pecS mutant was slightly more virulent. These results show that Cyt toxins are not the only virulence factors required to kill aphids, and that these factors act at different stages of the infection. Moreover, their production is controlled by general virulence regulators known for their role in plant virulence. This integration could indicate that virulence towards insects is a normal mode of life for D. dadantii.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 11:57:32 AM
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Denis Costechareyre, Bedis Dridi, Yvan Rahbé, Guy Condemine. Cyt toxin expression reveals an inverse regulation of insect and plant virulence factors of Dickeya dadantii.. Environmental Microbiology, Society for Applied Microbiology and Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 12 (12), epub ahead of print. ⟨10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02305.x⟩. ⟨hal-00539193⟩



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