Expression of putative virulence factors in the potato pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus during infection
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The Gram-positive bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus is the causal agent of bacterial wilt and ring rot of potato. So far, only two proteins have been shown to be essential for virulence, namely a plasmid-encoded cellulase CelA and a hypersensitive response-inducing protein. We have examined the relative expression of CelA and eight putative virulence factors during infection of potato and in liquid culture, using quantitative real-time PCR. The examined putative virulence genes were celB, a cellulase-encoding gene and genes encoding a pectate lyase, a xylanase and five homologues of the Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis pathogenicity factor Pat-1 thought to encode a serine protease. Six of the nine assayed genes were up-regulated during infection of potato, including celA, celB, the xylanase gene, and two of the pat genes. The pectate lyase gene showed only slightly elevated expression, whereas three of the five examined pat genes were down-regulated during infection in potato. Interestingly, the two up-regulated pat genes showed a noticeable sequence difference compared to the three down-regulated pat genes. These results reveal several new proteins that are likely to be involved in Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus pathogenicity.
KeywordsClavibacter Virulence factor Infection Gene expression
Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis
Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus
This work was supported by a grant from the Research Council of Norway. Thanks to Arild Sletten and Juliana S. Perminow for discussions and for kindly providing the bacterial strain.
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