Genome-Wide Mutagenesis of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri Reveals Novel Genetic Determinants and Regulation Mechanisms of Biofilm Formation
by Jinyun Li, Nian Wang
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri (Xac) causes citrus canker disease, a major threat to citrus production worldwide. Accumulating evidence suggests that the formation of biofilms on citrus leaves plays an important role in the epiphytic survival of this pathogen prior to the development of canker disease. However, the process of Xac biofilm formation is poorly understood. Here, we report a genome-scale study of Xac biofilm formation in which we identified 92 genes, including 33 novel genes involved in biofilm formation and 7 previously characterized genes, colR, fhaB, fliC, galU, gumD, wxacO, and rbfC, known to be important for Xac biofilm formation. In addition, 52 other genes with defined or putative functions in biofilm formation were identified, even though they had not previously reported been to be associated with biofilm formation. The 92 genes were isolated from 292 biofilm-defective mutants following a screen of a transposon insertion library containing 22,000 Xac strain 306 mutants. Further analyses indicated that 16 of the novel genes are involved in the production of extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) and/or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), 7 genes are involved in signaling and regulatory pathways, and 5 genes have unknown roles in biofilm formation. Furthermore, two novel genes, XAC0482, encoding a haloacid dehalogenase-like phosphatase, and XAC0494 (designated as rbfS), encoding a two-component sensor protein, were confirmed to be biofilm-related genes through complementation assays. Our data demonstrate that the formation of mature biofilm requires EPS, LPS, both flagellum-dependent and flagellum-independent cell motility, secreted proteins and extracellular DNA. Additionally, multiple signaling pathways are involved in Xac biofilm formation. This work is the first report on a genome-wide scale of the genetic processes of biofilm formation in plant pathogenic bacteria. The report provides significant new information about the genetic determinants and regulatory mechanism of biofilm formation.
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