Plant Science Innovation, Center for


Date of this Version



PNAS, August 1, 2000, vol. 97, no. 16, 8770–8777.


This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Pseudomonas syringae is a member of an important group of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens of plants and animals that depend on a type III secretion system to inject virulence effector proteins into host cells. In P. syringae, hrpyhrc genes encode the Hrp (type III secretion) system, and avirulence (avr) and Hrpdependent outer protein (hop) genes encode effector proteins. The hrpyhrc genes of P. syringae pv syringae 61, P. syringae pv syringae B728a, and P. syringae pv tomato DC3000 are flanked by an exchangeable effector locus and a conserved effector locus in a tripartite mosaic Hrp pathogenicity island (Pai) that is linked to a tRNALeu gene found also in Pseudomonas aeruginosa but without linkage to Hrp system genes. Cosmid pHIR11 carries a portion of the strain 61 Hrp pathogenicity island that is sufficient to direct Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas fluorescens to inject HopPsyA into tobacco cells, thereby eliciting a hypersensitive response normally triggered only by plant pathogens. Large deletions in strain DC3000 revealed that the conserved effector locus is essential for pathogenicity but the exchangeable effector locus has only a minor role in growth in tomato. P. syringae secretes HopPsyA and AvrPto in culture in a Hrp-dependent manner at pH and temperature conditions associated with pathogenesis. AvrPto is also secreted by Yersinia enterocolitica. The secretion of AvrPto depends on the first 15 codons, which are also sufficient to direct the secretion of an Npt reporter from Y. enterocolitica, indicating that a universal targeting signal is recognized by the type III secretion systems of both plant and animal pathogens.