Mutants of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae deficient in general secretory pathway are virulence deficient and unable to secrete xylanase.
Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) causes bacterial blight, a serious disease of rice. Upon clip inoculation of rice leaves, Xoo causes typical V-shaped lesions whose leading edge moves through the mid-veinal region. We have isolated a virulence deficient mutant of Xoo, referred to as BXO808 that causes limited lesions which primarily extend through the side-veinal regions of rice leaves. Functional complementation studies identified a clone, pSR19, from a cosmid genomic library that restored wild-type virulence and lesion phenotype to BXO808. Transposon mutagenesis of the pSR19 clone, marker exchange experiments, and targeted mutagenesis, revealed that the BXO808 phenotype is due to mutation in the gltB/D genes of Xoo, which encode glutamate synthase subunits α and β, respectively. The gltB/D mutants that were generated in this study also exhibited virulence deficiency, an altered lesion phenotype and growth deficiency on minimal medium with low levels of ammonium as a sole nitrogen source. This is the first report that mutations in the gltB/D genes of Xoo cause virulence deficiency.