Type III secretion and effectors shape the survival and growth pattern of Pseudomonas syringae on leaf surfaces

Jiyoung Lee, Gail M. Teitzel, Kathy Munkvold, Olga del Pozo, Gregory B. Martin, Richard W Michelmore, Jean T. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv syringae B728a (PsyB728a) uses a type III secretion system (T3SS) to inject effector proteins into plant cells, a process that modulates the susceptibility of different plants to infection. Analysis of GREEN FLUORESCENT PROTEIN-expressing PsyB728a after spray inoculation without additives under moderate relative humidity conditions permitted (1) a detailed analysis of this strain's survival and growth pattern on host (Nicotiana benthamiana) and nonhost (tomato [Solanum lycopersicum]) leaf surfaces, (2) an assessment of the role of plant defenses in affecting PsyB728a leaf surface (epiphytic) growth, and (3) the contribution of the T3SS and specific effectors to PsyB728a epiphytic survival and growth. On host leaf surfaces, PsyB728a cells initially persist without growing, and show an increased population only after 48 h, unless plants are pretreated with the defense-inducing chemical benzothiazole. During the persistence period, some PsyB728a cells induce a T3SS reporter, whereas a T3SS-deficient mutant shows reduced survival. By 72 h, rare invasion by PsyB728a to the mesophyll region of host leaves occurs, but endophytic and epiphytic bacterial growths are not correlated. The effectors HopZ3 and HopAA1 delay the onset of epiphytic growth of PsyB728a on N. benthamiana, whereas they promote epiphytic survival/growth on tomato. These effectors localize to distinct sites in plant cells and likely have different mechanisms of action. HopZ3 may enzymatically modify host targets, as it requires residues important for the catalytic activity of other proteins in its family of proteases. Thus, the T3SS, HopAA1, HopZ3, and plant defenses strongly influence epiphytic survival and/or growth of PsyB728a.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1803-1818
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Genetics
  • Physiology


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