The life cycle of the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora comprises periods inside and outside the host in which it faces oxidative stress caused by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and other compounds. The sources of this stress are plant defences, other microorganisms and/or exposure to starvation or other environmental challenges. However, the functional roles of H2O2‐neutralizing enzymes, such as catalases, during plant–pathogen interactions and/or under starvation conditions in phytopathogens of the family Erwiniaceae or closely related families have not yet been investigated. In this work, the contribution of E. amylovora catalases KatA and KatG to virulence and survival in non‐host environments was determined using catalase gene mutants and expression, as well as catalase activity analyses. The participation of E. amylovora exopolysaccharides (EPSs) in oxidative stress protection was also investigated. Our study revealed the following: (i) a different growth phase regulation of each catalase, with an induction by H2O2 and host tissues; (ii) the significant role of E. amylovora catalases as virulence and survival factors during plant–pathogen interactions; (iii) the induction of EPSs by H2O2 despite the fact that apparently they do not contribute to protection against this compound; and (iv) the participation of both catalases in the detoxification of the starvation‐induced intracellular oxidative stress, favouring the maintenance of culturability, and hence delaying the development of the viable but non‐culturable (VBNC) response.
Molecular Plant Pathology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;
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