Discovery of plant phenolic compounds that act as type III secretion system inhibitors or inducers of the fire blight pathogen, erwinia amylovora

Devanshi Khokhani, Chengfang Zhang, Yan Li, Qi Wang, Quan Zeng, Akihiro Yamazaki, William Hutchins, Shan Shan Zhou, Xin Chen, Ching Hong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Erwinia amylovora causes a devastating disease called fire blight in rosaceous plants. The type III secretion system (T3SS) is one of the important virulence factors utilized by E. amylovora in order to successfully infect its hosts. By using a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter construct combined with a high-throughput flow cytometry assay, a library of phenolic compounds and their derivatives was studied for their ability to alter the expression of the T3SS. Based on the effectiveness of the compounds on the expression of the T3SS pilus, the T3SS inhibitors 4-methoxy-cinnamic acid (TMCA) and benzoic acid (BA) and one T3SS inducer, trans-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-ethenylsulfonate (EHPES), were chosen for further study. Both the T3SS inhibitors (TMCA and BA) and the T3SS inducer (EHPES) were found to alter the expression of T3SS through the HrpS-HrpL pathway. Additionally, TMCA altered T3SS expression through the rsmBEa-RsmAEa system. Finally, we found that TMCA and BA weakened the hypersensitive response (HR) in tobacco by suppressing the T3SS of E. amylovora. In our study, we identified phenolic compounds that specifically targeted the T3SS. The T3SS inhibitor may offer an alternative approach to antimicrobial therapy by targeting virulence factors of bacterial pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5424-5436
Number of pages13
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume79
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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