The hypersensitive response and pathogenicity (hrp) type III secretion system (T3SS) is a key pathogenicity factor in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (DC3000). In this study, the role of the second messenger (p)ppGpp on virulence and survival of DC3000 was investigated. Results have demonstrated that (p)ppGpp-deficient mutant (ppGpp0) of DC3000 exhibited lower levels of expression of the T3SS and genes of other virulence traits, such as coronatine toxin. The ppGpp0mutant of DC3000 was greatly impaired in causing disease and in growth in planta. Furthermore, (p)ppGpp was required for swarming motility, pyoverdine production, the oxidative stress response, as well as γ-amino butyric acid utilization. Screening of amino acids, major signals in activation of ppGpp biosynthesis, revealed that promoter activities of the avrPto gene could be either activated or suppressed by various amino acids in a ppGpp-dependent or -independent manner. Moreover, the ppGpp0 mutant exhibited increased cell size and decreased survival on plant surfaces. Altogether, these findings indicate that ppGpp acts as an internal signal that regulates the T3SS as well as other virulence factors in pseudomonads and suggest that bacterial pathogens utilize intracellular messengers to sense environmental and nutritional signals for rapid, precise, and reversible control of their pathogenesis and survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science