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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A bacterial sensor of plant cell contact controls the transcriptional induction of Ralstonia solanacearum pathogenicity genes.

The hrp genes of the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum are key pathogenicity determinants; they encode a type III protein secretion machinery involved in the secretion of mediators of the bacterium-plant interaction. These hrp genes are under the genetic control of the hrpB regulatory gene, expression of which is induced when bacteria are co-cultivated with plant cell suspensions. In this study, we used hrp-gfp transcriptional fusions to demonstrate that the expression of the hrpB and type III secretion genes is specifically induced in response to the bacterium-plant cell contact. This contact-dependent induction of hrpB gene expression requires the outer membrane protein PrhA, but not a functional type III secretion apparatus. Genetic evidence indicates that PrhA constitutes the first example of a bacterial receptor for a non-diffusible signal present in the plant cell wall and which triggers the transcriptional activation of bacterial virulence genes.[1]


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