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Research article2008Peer reviewedOpen access

Microarray profiling of host-extract-induced genes and characterization of the type VI secretion cluster in the potato pathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum

Mattinen, Laura; Somervuo, Panu; Nykyri, Johanna; Nissinen, Riitta; Kouvonen, Petri; Corthals, Garry; Auvinen, Petri; Aittamaa, Marja; Valkonen, Jari P. T.; Pirhonen, Minna


Pectobacterium atrosepticum is a Gram-negative plant-pathogenic bacterium that rots potato stems and tubers. Microarray analysis was used to identify genes that were differentially expressed when host extracts were added to the growth medium. Potato extracts downregulated the expression of ribosomal genes and genes related to uptake and metabolism of nutrients, and upregulated genes needed for nitrate or phosphonate use. Some of the observed changes in gene expression in host-extract-induced cultures are similar to those during attachment of the bacterium to host tissues. Other responses indicated defence against toxic metabolites in the extract. Tuber extract induced a large gene cluster having homology to type VI secretion genes shown to be virulence determinants in many, but not all, animal and human pathogens. Two of the genes in the type VI cluster were found to be expressed during infection in potato tubers and stems, and mutants with knockouts of the corresponding genes had increased virulence on potato. One of the type VI secretion mutants was further characterized and found to grow to higher cell density in culture in the presence of host extract and to produce slightly more extracellular tissue-macerating enzymes than the wild-type strain. Analysis of secreted proteins showed that this type VI mutant was affected in the production of haemolysin-coregulated proteins (Hcps), which have been suggested to be secreted by the type VI pathway in other bacteria. The results suggest that the type VI secretion system of P. atrosepticum is needed for secretion of Hcps but not for virulence on its host plant, potato.

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2008, Volume: 154, pages: 2387-2396

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        Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified

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