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An exo-poly-alpha-D-galacturonosidase, PehB, is required for wild-type virulence of Ralstonia solanacearum.

By Q Huang and C Allen


Ralstonia solanacearum, which causes bacterial wilt disease of many plant species, produces several extracellular plant cell wall-degrading enzymes that are suspected virulence factors. These include a previously described endopolygalacturonase (PG), PehA, and two exo-PGs. A gene encoding one of the exo-PGs, pehB, was cloned from R. solanacearum K60. The DNA fragment specifying PehB contained a 2,103-bp open reading frame that encodes a protein of 74.2 kDa with a typical N-terminal signal sequence. The cloned pehB gene product cleaves polygalacturonic acid into digalacturonic acid units. The amino acid sequence of pehB resembles that of pehX, an exo-PG gene from Erwinia chrysanthemi, with 47.2% identity at the amino acid level. PehB also has limited similarity to plant exo-PGs from Zea mays and Arabidopsis thaliana. The chromosomal pehB genes in R. solanacearum wild-type strain K60 and in an endo-PG PehA- strain were replaced with an insertionally inactivated copy of pehB. The resulting mutants were deficient in the production of PehB and of both PehA and PehB, respectively. The pehB mutant was significantly less virulent than the wild-type strain in eggplant virulence assays using a soil inoculation method. However, the pehA mutant was even less virulent, and the pehA pehB double mutant was the least virulent of all. These results suggest that PehB is required for a wild-type level of virulence in R. solanacearum although its individual role in wilt disease development may be minor. Together with endo-PG PehA, however, PehB contributes substantially to the virulence of R. solanacearum

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.179.23.7369-7378.1997
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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