Comparative genomics identified a genetic locus in plant-associated Pseudomonas spp. that is necessary for induced systemic susceptibility
Plant root-associated microbes promote plant growth and induce systemic resistance (ISR) to foliar pathogens. In an attempt to find novel growth-promoting and ISR-inducing strains, we previously identified strains of root-associated Pseudomonas spp. that promote plant growth but unexpectedly induced systemic susceptibility (ISS) rather than ISR to foliar pathogens. Here we demonstrate that the ISS-inducing phenotype is common among root-associated Pseudomonas spp. Using comparative genomics, we identified a single P. fluorescens locus that is unique to ISS strains. We generated a clean deletion of the 11-gene ISS locus and found that it is necessary for the ISS phenotype. Although the functions of the predicted genes in the locus are not apparent based on similarity to genes of known function, the ISS locus is present in diverse bacteria and a subset of the genes have previously been implicated in pathogenesis in animals. Collectively these data show that a single bacterial locus contributes to modulation of systemic plant immunity. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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