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Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii exhibits surface motility, which is a critical aspect of Stewart's wilt disease development on maize

Herrera, C.M.; Koutsoudis, M.D.; Wang, X.; von Bodman, S.B.

Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions Mpmi 21(10): 1359-1370

2008


ISSN/ISBN: 0894-0282
PMID: 18785831
DOI: 10.1094/mpmi-21-10-1359
Accession: 032710604

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Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii is a plant-pathogenic bacterium that causes Stewart's vascular wilt in maize. The organism is taxonomically described as aflagellated and nonmotile. We recently showed that P. stewartii colonizes the xylem of maize as sessile, cell-wall-adherent biofilms. Biofilm formation is a developmental process that generally involves some form of surface motility. For that reason, we reexamined the motility properties of P. stewartii DC283 based on the assumption that the organism requires some form of surface motility for biofilm development. Here, we show that the organism is highly motile on agar surfaces. This motility is flagella dependent, shown by the fact that a fliC mutant, impaired in flagellin subunit synthesis, is nonmotile. Motility also requires the production of stewartan exopolysaccharide. Moreover, surface motility plays a significant role in the colonization of the plant host.

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