Characterization of an Insecticidal Toxin and Pathogenicity of Pseudomonas taiwanensis against Insects

Pseudomonas taiwanensis is a broad-host-range entomopathogenic bacterium that exhibits insecticidal activity toward agricultural pests Plutella xylostella, Spodoptera exigua, Spodoptera litura, Trichoplusia ni and Drosophila melanogaster. Oral infection with different concentrations (OD = 0.5 to 2) of wild-type P. taiwanensis resulted in insect mortality rates that were not significantly different (92.7%, 96.4% and 94.5%). The TccC protein, a component of the toxin complex (Tc), plays an essential role in the insecticidal activity of P. taiwanensis. The ΔtccC mutant strain of P. taiwanensis, which has a knockout mutation in the tccC gene, only induced 42.2% mortality in P. xylostella even at a high bacterial dose (OD = 2.0). TccC protein was cleaved into two fragments, an N-terminal fragment containing an Rhs-like domain and a C-terminal fragment containing a Glt symporter domain and a TraT domain, which might contribute to antioxdative stress activity and defense against macrophagosis, respectively. Interestingly, the primary structure of the C-terminal region of TccC in P. taiwanensis is unique among pathogens. Membrane localization of the C-terminal fragment of TccC was proved by flow cytometry. Sonicated pellets of P. taiwanensis ΔtccC strain had lower toxicity against the Sf9 insect cell line and P. xylostella larvae than the wild type. We also found that infection of Sf9 and LD652Y-5d cell lines with P. taiwanensis induced apoptotic cell death. Further, natural oral infection by P. taiwanensis triggered expression of host programmed cell death-related genes JNK-2 and caspase-3.


Co-researchers:Wen-Jen Chen, Feng-Chia Hsieh,Fu-Chiun Hsu, Yi-Fang Tasy, Je-Ruei Liu, Ming-Che Shih