XatA, an AT-1 autotransporter important for the virulence of Xylella fastidiosa Temecula1
Xylella fastidiosa Temecula1 is the causative agent of Pierce's disease of grapevine, which is spread by xylem-feeding insects. An important feature of the infection cycle is the ability of X. fastidiosa to colonize and interact with two distinct environments, the xylem of susceptible plants and the insect foregut. Here, we describe our characterization of XatA, the X. fastidiosa autotransporter protein encoded by PD0528. XatA, which is classified as an AT-1 (classical) autotransporter, has a C-terminal beta-barrel domain and a passenger domain composed of six tandem repeats of approximately 50 amino acids. Localization studies indicate that XatA is present in both the outer membrane and membrane vesicles and its passenger domain can be found in the supernatant. Moreover, XatA is important for X. fastidiosa autoaggregation and biofilm formation based on mutational analysis and the discovery that Escherichia coli expressing XatA acquire these traits. The xatA mutant also shows a significant decrease in Pierce's disease symptoms when inoculated into grapevines. Finally, X. fastidiosa homologs to XatA, which can be divided into three distinct groups based on synteny, form a single, well-supported clade, suggesting that they arose from a common ancestor.