The Xylella fastidiosa PD1063 Protein Is Secreted in Association with Outer Membrane Vesicles
Xylella fastidiosa is a gram-negative, xylem-limited plant pathogenic bacterium that causes disease in a variety of economically important agricultural crops including Pierce's disease of grapevines. Xylella fastidiosa biofilms formed in the xylem vessels of plants play a key role in early colonization and pathogenicity by providing a protected niche and enhanced cell survival. Here we investigate the role of Xylella fastidiosa PD1063, the predicted ortholog of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae PXO_03968, which encodes an outer membrane protein. To assess the function of the Xylella fastidiosa ortholog, we created Xylella fastidiosa mutants deleted for PD1063 and then assessed biofilm formation, cell-cell aggregation and cell growth in vitro. We also assessed disease severity and pathogen titers in grapevines mechanically inoculated with the Xylella fastidiosa PD1063 mutant. We found a significant decrease in cell-cell aggregation among PD1063 mutants but no differences in cell growth, biofilm formation, disease severity or titers in planta. Based on the demonstration that Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae PXO_03968 encodes an outer membrane protein, secreted in association with outer membrane vesicles, we predicted that PD1063 would also be secreted in a similar manner. Using anti-PD1063 antibodies, we found PD1063 in the supernatant and secreted in association with outer membrane vesicles. PD1063 purified from the supernatant, outer membrane fractions and outer membrane vesicles was 19.2 kD, corresponding to the predicted size of the processed protein. Our findings suggest Xylella fastidiosa PD1063 is not essential for development of Pierce's disease in Vitis vinifera grapevines although further research is required to determine the function of the PD1063 outer membrane protein in Xylella fastidiosa.