The hrpX gene is essential for pathogenicity of Xanthomonas species. Loss of hrpX by mutation results in the loss of pathogenicity and a gain in the ability of Xanthomonas to cause the hypersensitive response in their respective host plants, suggesting that hrpX confers a means to evade this host defense response. The function of HrpX protein was predicted by sequencing of hrpXc and hrpXo from X. campestris pv. campestris and X. oryzae, respectively. The predicted amino acid sequences of the protein encoded by these respective genes revealed similarities (45.96%) to the HrpB protein of Burkholderia solanacearum, which has sequence identity to the transcriptional activator VirF of Yersinia enterocolitica and AraC of Escherichia coli. Thus, HrpX may regulate Xanthomonas virulence genes since a putative DNA binding domain present in the carboxyl terminal half of HrpX is highly conserved among HrpB, VirF and AraC and since over-expression of the carboxyl terminal half of HrpX in E. coli is lethal.