Functional Genomics Insights Into the Pathogenicity, Habitat Fitness, and Mechanisms Modifying Plant Development of Rhodococcus sp. PBTS1 and PBTS2

We addressed this controversy and used a functional genomics approach to find clues as to how the Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome bacteria would co-occur and modulate plant development

Danny Vereecke; Yucheng Zhang; Isolde M. Francis; Paul Q. Lambert; Jolien Venneman; Rio A. Stamler; James Kilcrease; Jennifer J. Randall

2020

Scholarcy highlights

  • The cosmopolitan Actinobacteria, one of the largest phyla within the Bacteria, are acclaimed for their metabolic versatility and their capacity to produce biologically active agents with applications in medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology
  • As the typical symptoms associated with an increased cytokinin response have been attributed to the degradation of auxin rather than the production of cytokinins in some leafy gall inducers, the chromosomes of PBTS1, PBTS2, and D188 were examined for the presence of homologs of the indole-3-acetic acid catabolism genes implicated in auxin degradation in diverse bacteria, but none were detected
  • By combining previous results with the data presented here, we conclude that subpopulations of the Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome bacteria carry a fas locus that is highly similar to that present in leafy gall inducers
  • For PBTS2, the fas operon is probably present on a linear plasmid, but for PBTS1, not enough data are currently available to support the same hypothesis
  • In contrast to many leafy gall inducers, the elusive virulence carrier in the two PBTS strains is highly unstable outside the plant host, affecting the outcome of pathogenicity assays
  • The chromosomes of the PBTS strains encode multiple functions that could contribute to the interaction with and developmental modification of the plant host, including those implicated in the modulation of auxin and ethylene levels and in the production of cytokinins and growth-affecting volatiles
  • These findings suggest that, similar to leafy gall inducers, co-option between the virulence carrier and the chromosome is likely an important factor in the virulence strategy of these bacteria

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