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Virulence Factors of Erwinia amylovora: A Review

Departament de Microbiologia i Parasiologia Sanitàries, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XXIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Departament de Microbiologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643, 08071 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bing Yan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(6), 12836-12854;
Received: 8 February 2015 / Revised: 22 May 2015 / Accepted: 26 May 2015 / Published: 5 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
PDF [894 KB, uploaded 5 June 2015]


Erwinia amylovora, a Gram negative bacteria of the Enterobacteriaceae family, is the causal agent of fire blight, a devastating plant disease affecting a wide range of host species within Rosaceae and a major global threat to commercial apple and pear production. Among the limited number of control options currently available, prophylactic application of antibiotics during the bloom period appears the most effective. Pathogen cells enter plants through the nectarthodes of flowers and other natural openings, such as wounds, and are capable of rapid movement within plants and the establishment of systemic infections. Many virulence determinants of E. amylovora have been characterized, including the Type III secretion system (T3SS), the exopolysaccharide (EPS) amylovoran, biofilm formation, and motility. To successfully establish an infection, E. amylovora uses a complex regulatory network to sense the relevant environmental signals and coordinate the expression of early and late stage virulence factors involving two component signal transduction systems, bis-(3′-5′)-cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) and quorum sensing. The LPS biosynthetic gene cluster is one of the relatively few genetic differences observed between Rubus- and Spiraeoideae-infecting genotypes of E. amylovora. Other differential factors, such as the presence and composition of an integrative conjugative element associated with the Hrp T3SS (hrp genes encoding the T3SS apparatus), have been recently described. In the present review, we present the recent findings on virulence factors research, focusing on their role in bacterial pathogenesis and indicating other virulence factors that deserve future research to characterize them. View Full-Text
Keywords: Erwinia amylovora; virulence factors; plant pathogenesis; fire blight; type III secretion system; exopolysaccharide; amylovoran; biofilms; motility; quorum sensing Erwinia amylovora; virulence factors; plant pathogenesis; fire blight; type III secretion system; exopolysaccharide; amylovoran; biofilms; motility; quorum sensing

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Piqué, N.; Miñana-Galbis, D.; Merino, S.; Tomás, J.M. Virulence Factors of Erwinia amylovora: A Review. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 12836-12854.

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