Transcriptional responses of Pseudomonas syringae to growth in epiphytic versus apoplastic leaf sites

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 29;110(5):E425-34. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221892110. Epub 2013 Jan 14.


Some strains of the foliar pathogen Pseudomonas syringae are adapted for growth and survival on leaf surfaces and in the leaf interior. Global transcriptome profiling was used to evaluate if these two habitats offer distinct environments for bacteria and thus present distinct driving forces for adaptation. The transcript profiles of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae B728a support a model in which leaf surface, or epiphytic, sites specifically favor flagellar motility, swarming motility based on 3-(3-hydroxyalkanoyloxy) alkanoic acid surfactant production, chemosensing, and chemotaxis,indicating active relocation primarily on the leaf surface. Epiphytic sites also promote high transcript levels for phenylalanine degradation, which may help counteract phenylpropanoid-based defenses before leaf entry. In contrast, intercellular, or apoplastic,sites favor the high-level expression of genes for GABA metabolism (degradation of these genes would attenuate GABA repression of virulence) and the synthesis of phytotoxins, two additional secondary metabolites, and syringolin A. These findings support roles for these compounds in virulence, including a role for syringolin A in suppressing defense responses beyond stomatal closure. A comparison of the transcriptomes from in planta cells and from cells exposed to osmotic stress, oxidative stress, and iron and nitrogen limitation indicated that water availability, in particular,was limited in both leaf habitats but was more severely limited in the apoplast than on the leaf surface under the conditions tested. These findings contribute to a coherent model of the adaptations of this widespread bacterial phytopathogen to distinct habitats within its host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / classification
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / microbiology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Ecosystem
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Extracellular Space / microbiology
  • Flagella / metabolism
  • Flagella / physiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Movement
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Peptides, Cyclic / metabolism
  • Phenylalanine / metabolism
  • Plant Epidermis / metabolism
  • Plant Epidermis / microbiology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas syringae / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas syringae / pathogenicity
  • Pseudomonas syringae / physiology
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Water / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • syringolin A
  • Water
  • Phenylalanine
  • Nitrogen

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE42544