Published on Mon Jul 05 2021

A bacterial derived plant- mimicking cytokinin hormone regulates social behaviour in a rice pathogen

Deb, S., Kumar, C., Kumar, R., Kaur, A., Ghosh, P., Jha, G., Patil, P. B., Chatterjee, S., Patel, H. K., Sonti, R. V.

The XopQ protein, a type-III effector of the rice pathogen, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzAE (Xoo), is involved in cytokinin biosynthesis. Xoo produces and secretes an active form of cytokinins which enables

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Abstract

Many plant-associated bacteria produce plant- mimicking hormones which are involved in modulating host physiology. However, their function in modulating bacterial physiology has not been reported. Here we show that the XopQ protein, a type-III effector of the rice pathogen, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), is involved in cytokinin biosynthesis. Xoo produces and secretes an active form of cytokinin which enables the bacterium to maintain a planktonic lifestyle and promotes virulence. RNA-seq analysis indicates that the cytokinin produced by Xoo is required for the regulation of several genes which are involved in biofilm formation. We have also identified the Xoo isopentenyl transferase gene, which is involved in the cytokinin biosynthesis pathway and is required for maintaining planktonic behaviour and virulence. Furthermore, mutations in the predicted cytokinin receptor kinase (PcrK) and the downstream response regulator (PcrR) of Xoo phenocopy the cytokinin biosynthetic mutants, but are not complemented by supplementation with exogenous cytokinin. Cytokinin biosynthetic functions are encoded in a number of diverse bacterial genomes suggesting that cytokinin may be a widespread signalling molecule in the bacterial kingdom