European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 104, Issue 6, pp 569–582

Genetic and physiological evidence for the production of N-acyl homoserine lactones by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and other fluorescent plant pathogenic Pseudomonas species

  • C. Korsi Dumenyo
  • Asita Mukherjee
  • Wesley Chun
  • Arun K. Chatterjee


N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) function as cell density (quorum) sensing signals and regulate diverse metabolic processes in several gram negative bacteria. We report that strains of Pseudomonas syringae pvs. syringae (Pss), tabaci and tomato as well as P. corrugata and P. savastanoi produce difussible AHLs that activate the lux operons of Vibrio fischeri or the tra::lacZ fusion of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. In Pss strain B3A, AHL production occurs in cell density dependent manner. Nucleotide sequence and genetic complementation data revealed the presence of ahlIPss, a luxI homolog within the Ahl+ DNA of Pss strain B3A. The \(ahlI_{Pss}^ + \) DNA expresses in AHL-deficient strains of P. fluorescens and E. carotovora subsp. carotovora (Ecc), and restores extracellular enzyme production and pathogenicity in the Ecc strain. The derivatives of Pss strains B3A and 301D carrying chromosomal ahlI::lacZ do not produce AHL, but like their wild type parents, produce extracellular protease and the phytotoxin syringomycin as well as elicit the hypersensitive reaction in tobacco leaves. While these strains also produce a basal level of β-galactosidase activity, the expression of ahlI::lacZ is substantially stimulated in the presence of multiple copies of the \(ahlI_{Pss}^ + \) DNA or by the addition of cell-free spent cultures containing AHL. The activation of β-galactosidase production occurs with spent cultures of some, but not all Pseudomonas strains which produce AHL as indicated by the Lux and tra::lacZ assays. Pss strains deficient in the global regulatory genes, gacA or lemA, produce very low levels of AHL. Since inactivation of ahlIPss eliminates AHL production and since Ahl+ Pseudomonas strains carry the homolog of ahlIPss, we conclude that ahlIPss specifies a key step in AHL biosynthesis and it has been conserved in many plant pathogenic pseudomonads.

quorum-sensing gene expression autoinducer secondary metabolites 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Korsi Dumenyo
    • 1
  • Asita Mukherjee
    • 1
  • Wesley Chun
    • 2
  • Arun K. Chatterjee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant, Soil, and Entomological SciencesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA

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