Cell-cell signalling promotes ferric iron uptake in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola that contribute to its virulence and growth inside rice
Cell-cell communication mediated by diffusible signal factor (DSF) plays an important role in virulence of several Xanthomonas group of plant pathogens. In the bacterial pathogen of rice, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola, DSF is required for virulence and in planta growth. In order to understand the role of DSF in promoting in planta growth and virulence, we have characterized the DSF deficient mutant of X. oryzae pv. oryzicola. Mutant analysis by expression analysis, radiolabelled iron uptake studies and growth under low-iron conditions indicated that DSF positively regulates ferric iron uptake. Further, the DSF deficient mutant of X. oryzae pv. oryzicola exhibited a reduced capacity to use ferric form of iron for growth under low-iron conditions. Exogenous iron supplementation in the rice leaves rescued the in planta growth deficiency of the DSF deficient mutant. These data suggest that DSF promotes in planta growth of X. oryzae pv. oryzicola by positively regulating functions involved in ferric iron uptake which is important for its virulence. Our results also indicate that requirement of iron uptake strategies to utilize either Fe3+ or Fe2+ form of iron for colonization may vary substantially among closely related members of the Xanthomonas group of plant pathogens.