Plant Science Innovation, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY, Vol. 187, No. 2, Jan. 2005, p. 649–663, doi:10.1128/JB.187.2.649–663.2005


Copyright © 2005, American Society for Microbiology.


Pseudomonas syringae is a gram-negative bacterial plant pathogen that is dependent on a type III protein secretion system (TTSS) and the effector proteins it translocates into plant cells for pathogenicity. The P. syringae TTSS is encoded by hrp-hrc genes that reside in a central region of a pathogenicity island (Pai). Flanking one side of this Pai is the exchangeable effector locus (EEL). We characterized the transcriptional expression of the open reading frames (ORFs) within the EEL of P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000. One of these ORFs, PSPTO1406 (hopB1) is expressed in the same transcriptional unit as hrpK. Both HopB1 and HrpK were secreted in culture and translocated into plant cells via the TTSS. However, the translocation of HrpK required its C-terminal half. HrpK shares low similarity with a putative translocator, HrpF, from Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. DC3000 mutants lacking HrpK were significantly reduced in disease symptoms and multiplication in planta, whereas DC3000 hopB1 mutants produced phenotypes similar to the wild type. Additionally, hrpK mutants were reduced in their ability to elicit the hypersensitive response (HR), a programmed cell death associated with plant defense. The reduced HR phenotype exhibited by hrpK mutants was complemented by hrpK expressed in bacteria but not by HrpK transgenically expressed in tobacco, suggesting that HrpK does not function inside plant cells. Further experiments identified a C-terminal transmembrane domain within HrpK that is required for HrpK translocation. Taken together, HopB1 is a type III effector and HrpK plays an important role in the TTSS and is a putative type III translocator.