Comparative transcriptomic analysis of global gene expression mediated by (p) ppGpp reveals common regulatory networks in Pseudomonas syringae

Jun Liu, Menghao Yu, Tiyakhon Chatnaparat, Jae Hoon Lee, Yanli Tian, Baishi Hu, Youfu Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pseudomonas syringae is an important plant pathogen, which could adapt many different environmental conditions. Under the nutrient-limited and other stress conditions, P. syringae produces nucleotide signal molecules, i.e., guanosine tetra/pentaphosphate ((p)ppGpp), to globally regulate gene expression. Previous studies showed that (p) ppGpp played an important role in regulating virulence factors in P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (PstDC3000) and P. syringae pv. syringae B728a (PssB728a). Here we present a comparative transcriptomic analysis to uncover the overall effects of (p)ppGpp-mediated stringent response in P. syringae. Results: In this study, we investigated global gene expression profiles of PstDC3000 and PssB728a and their corresponding (p)ppGpp0 mutants in hrp-inducing minimal medium (HMM) using RNA-seq. A total of 1886 and 1562 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were uncovered between the (p)ppGpp0 mutants and the wild-type in PstDC3000 and PssB728a, respectively. Comparative transcriptomics identified 1613 common DEGs, as well as 444 and 293 unique DEGs in PstDC3000 and PssB728a, respectively. Functional cluster analysis revealed that (p) ppGpp positively regulated a variety of virulence-associated genes, including type III secretion system (T3SS), type VI secretion system (T6SS), cell motility, cell division, and alginate biosynthesis, while negatively regulated multiple basic physiological processes, including DNA replication, RNA processes, nucleotide biosynthesis, fatty acid metabolism, ribosome protein biosynthesis, and amino acid metabolism in both PstDC3000 and PssB728a. Furthermore, (p) ppGpp had divergent effects on other processes in PstDC3000 and PssB728a, including phytotoxin, nitrogen regulation and general secretion pathway (GSP). Conclusion: In this study, comparative transcriptomic analysis reveals common regulatory networks in both PstDC3000 and PssB728a mediated by (p) ppGpp in HMM. In both P. syringae systems, (p) ppGpp re-allocate cellular resources by suppressing multiple basic physiological activities and enhancing virulence gene expression, suggesting a balance between growth, survival and virulence. Our research is important in that due to similar global gene expression mediated by (p) ppGpp in both PstDC3000 and PssB728a, it is reasonable to propose that (p) ppGpp could be used as a target to develop novel control measures to fight against important plant bacterial diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number296
JournalBMC genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2020


  • B728a
  • DC3000
  • RNA-seq
  • Secondary messenger
  • Stringent response
  • Virulence factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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