The hrpK operon of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 encodes two proteins secreted by the type III (Hrp) protein secretion system: HopB1 and HrpK, a putative type III translocator

Tanja Petnicki-Ocwieja, Karin Van Dijk, James R. Alfano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Pseudomonas syringae is a gram-negative bacterial plant pathogen that is dependent on a type III protein secretion system (TTSS) and the effector proteins it translocates into plant cells for pathogenicity. The P. syringae TTSS is encoded by hrp-hrc genes that reside in a central region of a pathogenicity island (Pai). Flanking one side of this Pai is the exchangeable effector locus (EEL). We characterized the transcriptional expression of the open reading frames (ORFs) within the EEL of P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000. One of these ORFs, PSPTO1406 (hopB1) is expressed in the same transcriptional unit as hrpK. Both HopB1 and HrpK were secreted in culture and translocated into plant cells via the TTSS. However, the translocation of HrpK required its C-terminal half. HrpK shares low similarity with a putative translocator, HrpF, from Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. DC3000 mutants lacking HrpK were significantly reduced in disease symptoms and multiplication in planta, whereas DC3000 hopB1 mutants produced phenotypes similar to the wild type. Additionally, hrpK mutants were reduced in their ability to elicit the hypersensitive response (HR), a programmed cell death associated with plant defense. The reduced HR phenotype exhibited by hrpK mutants was complemented by hrpK expressed in bacteria but not by HrpK transgenically expressed in tobacco, suggesting that HrpK does not function inside plant cells. Further experiments identified a C-terminal transmembrane domain within HrpK that is required for HrpK translocation. Taken together, HopB1 is a type III effector and HrpK plays an important role in the TTSS and is a putative type III translocator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-663
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this