Defining the Metabolic Functions and Roles in Virulence of the rpoN1 and rpoN2 Genes in Ralstonia solanacearum GMI1000

Benjamin R. Lundgren, Morgan P. Connolly, Pratibha Choudhary, Tiffany S. Brookins-Little, Snigdha Chatterjee, Ramesh Raina, Christopher T. Nomura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The alternative sigma factor RpoN is a unique regulator found among bacteria. It controls numerous processes that range from basic metabolism to more complex functions such as motility and nitrogen fixation. Our current understanding of RpoN function is largely derived from studies on prototypical bacteria such as Escherichia coli. Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas putida. Although the extent and necessity of RpoN-dependent functions differ radically between these model organisms, each bacterium depends on a single chromosomal rpoN gene to meet the cellular demands of RpoN regulation. The bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum is often recognized for being the causative agent of wilt disease in crops, including banana, peanut and potato. However, this plant pathogen is also one of the few bacterial species whose genome possesses dual rpoN genes. To determine if the rpoN genes in this bacterium are genetically redundant and interchangeable, we constructed and characterized δrpoN1, δrpoN2 and δrpoN1 δrpoN2 mutants of R. solanacearum GMI1000. It was found that growth on a small range of metabolites, including dicarboxylates, ethanol, nitrate, ornithine, proline and xanthine, were dependent on only the rpoN1 gene. Furthermore, the rpoN1 gene was required for wilt disease on tomato whereas rpoN2 had no observable role in virulence or metabolism in R. solanacearum GMI1000. Interestingly, plasmid- based expression of rpoN2 did not fully rescue the metabolic deficiencies of the δrpoN1 mutants; full recovery was specific to rpoN1. In comparison, only rpoN2 was able to genetically complement a δrpoN E. coli mutant. These results demonstrate that the RpoN1 and RpoN2 proteins are not functionally equivalent or interchangeable in R. solanacearum GMI1000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0144852
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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