Author(s): Schell MA
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Abstract Ralstonia solanacearum causes a lethal bacterial wilt disease of diverse plants. It invades the xylem vessels of roots and disseminates into the stem where it multiplies and wilts by excessive exopolysaccharide production. Many of its key extracytoplasmic virulence and pathogenicity factors are transcriptionally controlled by an extensive network of distinct, interacting signal transduction pathways. The core of this sensory network is the five-gene Phc system that regulates exopolysaccharide, cell-wall-degrading exoenzymes, and other factors in response to a self-produced signal molecule that monitors the pathogen's growth status and environment. Four additional environmentally responsive two-component systems work independently and with the Phc system to fine-tune virulence gene expression. Another critical system is Prh which transduces plant cell-derived signals through a six-gene cascade to activate deployment of the Type III secretion pathway encoded by the hrp pathogenicity genes. Here I summarize knowledge about the regulated targets, signal transduction mechanisms, and crosstalk between Phc, Prh, and other systems. I also provide insight into why R. solanacearum has evolved such a sophisticated sensory apparatus, and how it functions in disease.
This article was published in Annu Rev Phytopathol
and referenced in Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology