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The Gene Encoding NAD-Dependent Epimerase/Dehydratase, wcaG, Affects Cell Surface Properties, Virulence, and Extracellular Enzyme Production in the Soft Rot Phytopathogen, Pectobacterium carotovorum

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd; Box 9543, Nashville, TN 37209, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current Address: Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(6), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7060172
Received: 8 May 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 13 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Microbial Interactions)
Pectobacterium carotovorum is a gram-negative bacterium that, together with other soft rot Enterobacteriaceae causes soft rot disease in vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants through the action of exoproteins including plant cell wall-degrading enzymes (PCWDEs). Although pathogenicity in these bacteria is complex, virulence levels are proportional to the levels of plant cell wall-degrading exoenzymes (PCWDEs) secreted. Two low enzyme-producing transposon Tn5 mutants were isolated, and compared to their parent KD100, the mutants were less virulent on celery petioles and carrot disks. The inactivated gene responsible for the reduced virulence phenotype in both mutants was identified as wcaG. The gene, wcaG (previously denoted fcl) encodes NAD-dependent epimerase/dehydratase, a homologue of GDP-fucose synthetase of Escherichia coli. In Escherichia coli, GDP-fucose synthetase is involved in the biosynthesis of the exopolysaccharide, colanic acid (CA). The wcaG mutants of P. carotovorum formed an enhanced level of biofilm in comparison to their parent. In the hydrophobicity test the mutants showed more hydrophobicity than the parent in hexane and hexadecane as solvents. Complementation of the mutants with extrachromosomal copies of the wild type gene restored these functions to parental levels. These data indicate that NAD-dependent epimerase/dehydratase plays a vital rule in cell surface properties, exoenzyme production, and virulence in P. carotovorum. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pectobacterium; exopolysaccharide; cell surface properties; O-specific antigen; biofilm; colanic acid; soft rot Pectobacterium; exopolysaccharide; cell surface properties; O-specific antigen; biofilm; colanic acid; soft rot
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Islam, R.; Brown, S.; Taheri, A.; Dumenyo, C.K. The Gene Encoding NAD-Dependent Epimerase/Dehydratase, wcaG, Affects Cell Surface Properties, Virulence, and Extracellular Enzyme Production in the Soft Rot Phytopathogen, Pectobacterium carotovorum. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 172.

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