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The Amino Acid Arginine 210 of the Response Regulator HrpG of Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri Is Required for HrpG Function in Virulence.

PloS one (2015-05-12)
Florencia A Ficarra, Cecilia G Garofalo, Natalia Gottig, Jorgelina Ottado
ABSTRACT

Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri colonizes its hosts through the trafficking of effector proteins to the plant cell by the type III protein secretion system. In X. citri subsp. citri, as in other plant pathogens, the hrp cluster encodes the type III protein secretion system and is regulated by the transcription factors HrpG and HrpX. HrpG belongs to the OmpR family's response regulator of EnvZ/OmpR two-component signal transduction system. Here, we show that the arginine 210 residue is crucial for the transcriptional activity of HrpG revealed by the absence of disease in host plants and hypersensitive response in non-host plants when a strain carrying this point mutation is used in plant infiltration assays. Also, this strain showed decreased expression levels of hrp genes in bacteria grown in culture or when they were recovered from citrus leaves. Moreover, we show for the first time that HrpG binds to both hrpX and its own promoter, and the change of the arginine 210 by a cysteine does not prevent the binding to both promoters. Nevertheless, in vitro hrpX transcription was observed only with HrpG whereas no transcription was detected with the R210C mutant. HrpG was able to interact with itself as well as with the mutant R210C suggesting that it functions as a dimer. The mutant protein R210C showed altered protease sensitivity, suggesting that Arg210 is essential for protein active conformation and thus for transcriptional activity. Our results indicate that arginine 210 in HrpG, as it may occur with this conserved residue in other members of this family of response regulators, is not required for DNA binding whereas is essential for hrp genes transcription and therefore for pathogenicity and HR induction.

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