Conjugative plasmids are known to facilitate the acquisition and dispersal of genes contributing to the fitness of Pseudomonas spp. Here, we report the characterization of pA506, the 57-kb conjugative plasmid of Pseudomonas fluorescens A506, a plant epiphyte used in the United States for the biological control of fire blight disease of pear and apple. Twenty-nine of the 67 open reading frames (ORFs) of pA506 have putative functions in conjugation, including a type IV secretion system related to that of MOBP6 family plasmids and a gene cluster for type IV pili. We demonstrate that pA506 is self-transmissible via conjugation between A506 and strains of Pseudomonas spp. or the Enterobacteriaceae. The origin of vegetative replication (oriV) of pA506 is typical of those in pPT23A family plasmids, which are present in many pathovars of Pseudomonas syringae, but pA506 lacks repA, a defining locus for pPT23A plasmids, and has a novel partitioning region. We selected a plasmid-cured derivative of A506 and compared it to the wild type to identify plasmid-encoded phenotypes. pA506 conferred UV resistance, presumably due to the plasmid-borne rulAB genes, but did not influence epiphytic fitness of A506 on pear or apple blossoms in the field. pA506 does not appear to confer resistance to antibiotics or other toxic elements. Based on the conjugative nature of pA506 and the large number of its genes that are shared with plasmids from diverse groups of environmental bacteria, the plasmid is likely to serve as a vehicle for genetic exchange between A506 and its coinhabitants on plant surfaces.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology