Plant Science Innovation, Center for


Date of this Version



2003 Blackwell Publishing Ltd


Molecular Microbiology (2003) 49 (2), 377–387 doi:10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03588.x


The bacterial plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae possesses a type III protein secretion system that delivers many virulence proteins into plant cells. A subset of these proteins (called Avr proteins) is recognized by the plant’s innate immune system and triggers defences. One defence-associated response is the hypersensitive response (HR), a programmed cell death (PCD) of plant tissue. We have previously identified HopPtoD2 as a type III secreted protein from P. s. pv. tomato DC3000. Sequence analysis revealed that an N-terminal domain shared homology with Avr- PphD and a C-terminal domain was similar to protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs). We demonstrated that purified HopPtoD2 possessed PTP activity and this activity required a conserved catalytic Cys residue (Cys 378 ). Interestingly, HopPtoD2 was capable of suppressing the HR elicited by an avirulent P. syringae strain on Nicotiana benthamiana . HopPtoD2 derivatives that lacked Cys 378 no longer suppressed the HR indicating that HR suppression required PTP activity. A constitutively active MAPK kinase, called NtMEK2 DD , is capable of eliciting an HR-like cell death when transiently expressed in tobacco. When NtMEK2 DD and HopPtoD2 were co-delivered into plant cells, the HR was suppressed indicating that HopPtoD2 acts downstream of NtMEK2 DD . DC3000 hopPtoD2 mutants were slightly reduced in their ability to multiply in planta and displayed an enhanced ability to elicit an HR. The identification of HopPtoD2 as a PTP and a PCD suppressor suggests that the inactivation of MAPK pathways is a virulence strategy utilized by bacterial plant pathogens.