Engineering bacteriocin-mediated resistance against the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae

Rooney, W. M. , Grinter, R. W., Correia, A., Walker, D. C. and Milner, J. J. (2020) Engineering bacteriocin-mediated resistance against the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 18(5), pp. 1296-1306. (doi: 10.1111/pbi.13294) (PMID:31705720) (PMCID:PMC7152609)

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The plant pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae (Ps), together with related Ps species, infect and attack a wide range of agronomically important crops, including tomato, kiwifruit, pepper, olive and soybean, causing economic losses. Currently, chemicals and introduced resistance genes are used to protect plants against these pathogens but have limited success and may have adverse environmental impacts. Consequently, there is a pressing need to develop alternative strategies to combat bacterial disease in crops. One such strategy involves using narrow‐spectrum protein antibiotics (so‐called bacteriocins), which diverse bacteria use to compete against closely related species. Here, we demonstrate that one bacteriocin, putidacin L1 (PL1), can be expressed in an active form at high levels in Arabidopsis and in Nicotiana benthamiana in planta to provide effective resistance against diverse pathovars of Ps. Furthermore, we find that Ps strains that mutate to acquire tolerance to PL1 lose their O‐antigen, exhibit reduced motility, and still cannot induce disease symptoms in PL1‐transgenic Arabidopsis. Our results provide proof‐of‐principle that the transgene‐mediated expression of a bacteriocin in planta can provide effective disease resistance to bacterial pathogens. Thus, the expression of bacteriocins in crops might offer an effective strategy for managing bacterial disease, in the same way that the genetic modification of crops to express insecticidal proteins has proven to be an extremely successful strategy for pest management. Crucially, nearly all genera of bacteria, including many plant pathogenic species, produce bacteriocins, providing an extensive source of these antimicrobial agents.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Walker, Professor Daniel and Rooney, Dr Will and Grinter, Mr Rhys and Milner, Dr Joel
Authors: Rooney, W. M., Grinter, R. W., Correia, A., Walker, D. C., and Milner, J. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Plant Biotechnology Journal
ISSN (Online):1467-7652
Published Online:09 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Plant Biotechnology Journal 18:1296-1306
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
173241Protein Antibiotics: Discovery, mode of action and developmentDaniel WalkerWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)ALR01040 / 201505/Z/16/ZIII - Bacteriology
190773A novel mechanism of protein uptake in Gram-negative bacteriaDaniel WalkerBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/L02022X/1III - Bacteriology