Three New Pierce's Disease Pathogenicity Effectors Identified Using Xylella fastidiosa Biocontrol Strain EB92-1

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Xylella fastidiosa (X. fastidiosa) infects a wide range of plant hosts and causes economically serious diseases, including Pierce's Disease (PD) of grapevines. X. fastidiosa biocontrol strain EB92-1 was isolated from elderberry and is infectious and persistent in grapevines but causes only very slight symptoms under ideal conditions. The draft genome of EB92-1 revealed that it appeared to be missing genes encoding 10 potential PD pathogenicity effectors found in Temecula1. Subsequent PCR and sequencing analyses confirmed that EB92-1 was missing the following predicted effectors found in Temecula1: two type II secreted enzymes, including a lipase (LipA; PD1703) and a serine protease (PD0956); two identical genes encoding proteins similar to Zonula occludens toxins (Zot; PD0915 and PD0928), and at least one relatively short, hemagglutinin-like protein (PD0986). Leaves of tobacco and citrus inoculated with cell-free, crude protein extracts of E. coli BL21(DE3) overexpressing PD1703 exhibited a hypersensitive response (HR) in less than 24 hours. When cloned into shuttle vector pBBR1MCS-5, PD1703 conferred strong secreted lipase activity to Xanthomonas citri, E. coli and X. fastidiosa EB92-1 in plate assays. EB92-1/PD1703 transformants also showed significantly increased disease symptoms on grapevines, characteristic of PD. Genes predicted to encode PD0928 (Zot) and a PD0986 (hemagglutinin) were also cloned into pBBR1MCS-5 and moved into EB92-1; both transformants also showed significantly increased symptoms on V. vinifera vines, characteristic of PD. Together, these results reveal that PD effectors include at least a lipase, two Zot-like toxins and a possibly redundant hemagglutinin, none of which are necessary for parasitic survival of X. fastidiosa populations in grapevines or elderberry.


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  • Candida albicans
  • Citrus sp.
  • Nicotiana tabacum
  • Vitis vinifera
  • Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae
  • Xylella fastidiosa


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