A novel BLUF photoreceptor modulates the Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri–host plant interaction

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Plant–pathogen interaction is influenced by multiple environmental factors, including temperature and light. Recent works have shown that light modulates not only the defense response of plants but also the pathogens virulence. Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc) is the bacterium responsible for citrus canker, an important plant disease worldwide. The Xcc genome presents four genes encoding putative photoreceptors: one bacteriophytochrome and three blue light photoreceptors, one LOV and two BLUFs (bluf1: XAC2120 and bluf2: XAC3278). The presence of two BLUFs proteins is an outstanding feature of Xcc. In this work we show that the bluf2 gene is functional. The mutant strain, XccΔbluf2, was constructed demonstrating that BLUF2 regulates swimming-type motility, adhesion to leaves, exopolysaccharide production and biofilm formation, features involved in the Xcc virulence processes. An important aspect during the plant–pathogen interaction is the oxidative response of the host and the consequent reaction of the pathogen. We observed that ROS detoxification is regulated by Xcc bluf2 gene. The phenotypes of disease in orange plants produced by WT and XccΔbluf2 strains were evaluated, observing different phenotypes. Altogether, these results show that BLUF2 negatively regulates virulence during citrus canker. This work constitutes the first report on BLUF-like receptors in plant pathogenic bacteria.
Carrau A, Tano J, Moyano L, Ripa MB, Petrocelli S, Piskulic L, et al. A novel BLUF photoreceptor modulates the Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri–host plant interaction. Photoch & Photobio Sci. 2023 may; 22:1901-1918. doi:10.1007/s43630-023-00420-6.
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