September 22, 2019  |  

A strain of an emerging Indian Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae pathotype defeats the rice bacterial blight resistance gene xa13 without inducing a clade III SWEET gene and is nearly identical to a recent Thai isolate.

The rice bacterial blight pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) injects transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) that bind and activate host “susceptibility” (S) genes important for disease. Clade III SWEET genes are major S genes for bacterial blight. The resistance genes xa5, which reduces TALE activity generally, and xa13, a SWEET11 allele not recognized by the cognate TALE, have been effectively deployed. However, strains that defeat both resistance genes individually were recently reported in India and Thailand. To gain insight into the mechanism(s), we completely sequenced the genome of one such strain from each country and examined the encoded TALEs. Strikingly, the two strains are clones, sharing nearly identical TALE repertoires, including a TALE known to activate SWEET11 strongly enough to be effective even when diminished by xa5. We next investigated SWEET gene induction by the Indian strain. The Indian strain induced no clade III SWEET in plants harboring xa13, indicating a pathogen adaptation that relieves dependence on these genes for susceptibility. The findings open a door to mechanistic understanding of the role SWEET genes play in susceptibility and illustrate the importance of complete genome sequence-based monitoring of Xoo populations in developing varieties with effective disease resistance.


July 7, 2019  |  

The genome of the Saprophytic fungus Verticillium tricorpus reveals a complex effector repertoire resembling that of its pathogenic relatives.

Vascular wilts caused by Verticillium spp. are destructive plant diseases affecting hundreds of hosts. Only a few Verticillium spp. are causal agents of vascular wilt diseases, of which V. dahliae is the most notorious pathogen, and several V. dahliae genomes are available. In contrast, V. tricorpus is mainly known as a saprophyte and causal agent of opportunistic infections. Based on a hybrid approach that combines second and third generation sequencing, a near-gapless V. tricorpus genome assembly was obtained. With comparative genomics, we sought to identify genomic features in V. dahliae that confer the ability to cause vascular wilt disease. Unexpectedly, both species encode similar effector repertoires and share a genomic structure with genes encoding secreted proteins clustered in genomic islands. Intriguingly, V. tricorpus contains significantly fewer repetitive elements and an extended spectrum of secreted carbohydrate- active enzymes when compared with V. dahliae. In conclusion, we highlight the technical advances of a hybrid sequencing and assembly approach and show that the saprophyte V. tricorpus shares many hallmark features with the pathogen V. dahliae.


July 7, 2019  |  

Botrytis, the good, the bad and the ugly

Botrytis spp. are efficient pathogens, causing devastating diseases and significant crop losses in a wide variety of plant species. Here we outline our review of these pathogens, as well as highlight the major advances of the past 10 years in studying Botrytis in interaction with its hosts. Progress in molecular genetics and the development of relevant phylogenetic markers in particular, has resulted in the characterisation of approximately 30 species. The host range of Botrytis spp. includes plant species that are members of 170 families of cultivated plants.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of the sugar cane endophyte Pseudomonas aurantiaca PB-St2, a disease-suppressive bacterium with antifungal activity toward the plant pathogen Colletotrichum falcatum.

The endophytic bacterium Pseudomonas aurantiaca PB-St2 exhibits antifungal activity and represents a biocontrol agent to suppress red rot disease of sugar cane. Here, we report the completely sequenced 6.6-Mb genome of P. aurantiaca PB-St2. The sequence contains a repertoire of biosynthetic genes for secondary metabolites that putatively contribute to its antagonistic activity and its plant-microbe interactions.


July 7, 2019  |  

Pseudomonas syringae CC1557: a highly virulent strain with an unusually small type III effector repertoire that includes a novel effector.

Both type III effector proteins and nonribosomal peptide toxins play important roles for Pseudomonas syringae pathogenicity in host plants, but whether and how these pathways interact to promote infection remains unclear. Genomic evidence from one clade of P. syringae suggests a tradeoff between the total number of type III effector proteins and presence of syringomycin, syringopeptin, and syringolin A toxins. Here, we report the complete genome sequence from P. syringae CC1557, which contains the lowest number of known type III effectors to date and has also acquired genes similar to sequences encoding syringomycin pathways from other strains. We demonstrate that this strain is pathogenic on Nicotiana benthamiana and that both the type III secretion system and a new type III effector, hopBJ1, contribute to pathogenicity. We further demonstrate that activity of HopBJ1 is dependent on residues structurally similar to the catalytic site of Escherichia coli CNF1 toxin. Taken together, our results provide additional support for a negative correlation between type III effector repertoires and the potential to produce syringomycin-like toxins while also highlighting how genomic synteny and bioinformatics can be used to identify and characterize novel virulence proteins.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the clover-nodulating Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain SRDI565.

Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii SRDI565 (syn. N8-J) is an aerobic, motile, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming rod. SRDI565 was isolated from a nodule recovered from the roots of the annual clover Trifolium subterraneum subsp. subterraneum grown in the greenhouse and inoculated with soil collected from New South Wales, Australia. SRDI565 has a broad host range for nodulation within the clover genus, however N2-fixation is sub-optimal with some Trifolium species and ineffective with others. Here we describe the features of R. leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain SRDI565, together with genome sequence information and annotation. The 6,905,599 bp high-quality-draft genome is arranged into 7 scaffolds of 7 contigs, contains 6,750 protein-coding genes and 86 RNA-only encoding genes, and is one of 100 rhizobial genomes sequenced as part of the DOE Joint Genome Institute 2010 Genomic Encyclopedia for Bacteria and Archaea-Root Nodule Bacteria (GEBA-RNB) project.


July 7, 2019  |  

The genome analysis of Candidatus Burkholderia crenata reveals that secondary metabolism may be a key function of the Ardisia crenata leaf nodule symbiosis.

A majority of Ardisia species harbour Burkholderia sp. bacteria within specialized leaf nodules. The bacteria are transmitted hereditarily and have not yet been cultured outside of their host. Because the plants cannot develop beyond the seedling stage without their symbionts, the symbiosis is considered obligatory. We sequenced for the first time the genome of Candidatus Burkholderia crenata (Ca. B. crenata), the leaf nodule symbiont of Ardisia crenata. The genome of Ca. B. crenata is the smallest Burkholderia genome to date. It contains a large amount of insertion sequences and pseudogenes and displays features consistent with reductive genome evolution. The genome does not encode functions commonly associated with plant symbioses such as nitrogen fixation and plant hormone metabolism. However, we identified unique genes with a predicted role in secondary metabolism in the genome of Ca. B. crenata. Specifically, we provide evidence that the bacterial symbionts are responsible for the synthesis of compound FR900359, a cyclic depsipeptide with biomedical properties previously isolated from leaves of A.?crenata. © 2015 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evidence of horizontal gene transfer between obligate leaf nodule symbionts.

Bacteria of the genus Burkholderia establish an obligate symbiosis with plant species of the Rubiaceae and Primulaceae families. The bacteria, housed within the leaves, are transmitted hereditarily and have not yet been cultured. We have sequenced and compared the genomes of eight bacterial leaf nodule symbionts of the Rubiaceae plant family. All of the genomes exhibit features consistent with genome erosion. Genes potentially involved in the biosynthesis of kirkamide, an insecticidal C7N aminocyclitol, are conserved in most Rubiaceae symbionts. However, some have partially lost the kirkamide pathway due to genome erosion and are unable to synthesize the compound. Kirkamide synthesis is therefore not responsible for the obligate nature of the symbiosis. More importantly, we find evidence of intra-clade horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events affecting genes of the secondary metabolism. This indicates that substantial gene flow can occur at the early stages following host restriction in leaf nodule symbioses. We propose that host-switching events and plasmid conjugative transfers could have promoted these HGTs. This genomic analysis of leaf nodule symbionts gives, for the first time, new insights in the genome evolution of obligate symbionts in their early stages of the association with plants.


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