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Characterization of the Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. glycines Hrp Pathogenicity Island

  • Jung-Gun Kim
  • Byoung Keun Park
  • Chang-Hyuk Yoo
  • Eunkyung Jeon
  • Jonghee Oh
  • Ingyu Hwang
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
May 01, 2003
  • Biology


We sequenced an approximately 29-kb region from Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. glycines that contained the Hrp type III secretion system, and we characterized the genes in this region by Tn3-gus mutagenesis and gene expression analyses. From the region, hrp (hypersensitive response and pathogenicity) and hrc (hrp and conserved) genes, which encode type III secretion systems, and hpa (hrp-associated) genes were identified. The characteristics of the region, such as the presence of many virulence genes, low G+C content, and bordering tRNA genes, satisfied the criteria for a pathogenicity island (PAI) in a bacterium. The PAI was composed of nine hrp, nine hrc, and eight hpa genes with seven plant-inducible promoter boxes. The hrp and hrc mutants failed to elicit hypersensitive responses in pepper plants but induced hypersensitive responses in all tomato plants tested. The Hrp PAI of X. axonopodis pv. glycines resembled the Hrp PAIs of other Xanthomonas species, and the Hrp PAI core region was highly conserved. However, in contrast to the PAI of Pseudomonas syringae, the regions upstream and downstream from the Hrp PAI core region showed variability in the xanthomonads. In addition, we demonstrate that HpaG, which is located in the Hrp PAI region of X. axonopodis pv. glycines, is a response elicitor. Purified HpaG elicited hypersensitive responses at a concentration of 1.0 μM in pepper, tobacco, and Arabidopsis thaliana ecotype Cvi-0 by acting as a type III secreted effector protein. However, HpaG failed to elicit hypersensitive responses in tomato, Chinese cabbage, and A. thaliana ecotypes Col-0 and Ler. This is the first report to show that the harpin-like effector protein of Xanthomonas species exhibits elicitor activity.

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