Author(s): Brumbley SM, Carney BF, Denny TP
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Abstract Phenotype conversion (PC) in Pseudomonas solanacearum is the coordinated change in production of extracellular polysaccharide and a variety of extracellular proteins, some of which contribute to virulence. Although PC is normally spontaneous, it is mimicked by transposon inactivation of the phcA locus (S. M. Brumbley and T. P. Denny, J. Bacteriol. 172:5677-5685, 1990). The DNA sequence of a 1.8-kb region from strain AW1 that contains phcA revealed one open reading frame that should encode a polypeptide of 38.6 kDa. The PhcA protein produced in Escherichia coli by using a T7 RNA polymerase expression system was of the predicted size. The deduced amino acid sequence of PhcA is similar to that of some members of the LysR transcriptional activator gene family, especially in the amino terminus, where a putative helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif was identified. An analogous allele (phcA1) was cloned from the spontaneous PC mutant strain AW1-PC and found to be nonfunctional in complementation studies. When phcA1 was expressed in E. coli, the PhcA1 protein was 35.5 kDa, 3 kDa smaller than PhcA. Sequence analysis of phcA1 and chimeric constructs of phcA and phcA1 confirmed that PhcA1 is truncated by a 2-bp insertion 147 nucleotides upstream of the carboxyl terminus of PhcA. Southern blot analysis of 10 additional independently isolated PC mutants of strain AW1 revealed that two strains have larger insertions (0.2 and 1.0 kb) within phcA. These results suggest that phcA encodes a DNA-binding protein that regulates the transcription of one or more of the genes involved in P. solanacearum virulence and that spontaneous PC can be attributed to one of several different insertions within this locus.
This article was published in J Bacteriol
and referenced in Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology