A Temperature-Independent Cold-Shock Protein Homolog Acts as a Virulence Factor in Xylella fastidiosa

Text - scientific article/review article


Xylella fastidiosa, causal agent of Pierce's disease (PD) of grapevine, is a fastidious organism that requires very specific conditions for replication and plant colonization. Cold temperatures reduce growth and survival of X. fastidiosa both in vitro and in planta. However, little is known regarding physiological responses of X. fastidiosa to temperature changes. Cold-shock proteins (CSP), a family of nucleic acid binding proteins, act as chaperones facilitating translation at low temperatures. Bacterial genomes often encode multiple CSP, some of which are strongly induced following exposure to cold. Additionally, CSP contribute to the general stress response through mRNA stabilization and posttranscriptional regulation. A putative CSP homolog (Csp1) with RNA-binding activity was identified in X. fastidiosa Stag's Leap. The csp1 gene lacked the long 5' untranslated region characteristic of cold-inducible genes and was expressed in a temperature-independent manner. As compared with the wild type, a deletion mutant of csp1 (Delta csp1) had decreased survival rates following cold exposure and salt stress in vitro. The deletion mutant also was significantly less virulent in grapevine, as compared with the wild type, in the absence of cold stress. These results suggest an important function of X. fastidiosa Csp1 in response to cellular stress and during plant colonization.


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  • Xylella fastidiosa