Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) is the second most important rice pathogen, causing a disease called bacterial leaf blight. Xoo colonizes and infects the vascular tissue resulting in tissue necrosis and wilting causing significant yield losses worldwide. In this study Xoo infected vascular fluid (xylem sap) was recovered and analyzed for secreted Xoo proteins. Three independent experiments resulted in the identification of 324 different proteins, 64 proteins were found in all three samples which included many of the known virulence-associated factors. In addition, 10 genes encoding for the identified proteins were inactivated and one mutant displayed statistically a significant loss in virulence when compared to the wild type Xoo, suggesting that a new virulence-associated factor has been revealed. The usefulness of this approach in understanding the lifestyle and unraveling the virulence-associated factors of phytopathogenic vascular bacteria is discussed.
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